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Ronald McDonald House aims to expand into Regina and Prince Albert, Sask.

A service for families who have to travel long distances to access  health care for their children is hoping to expand into Regina and Prince Albert.

The Ronald McDonald House has a new campaign called Miles to Go that is hoping to put roots down in both cities.

“We’re hoping that with a new house in Regina that we’re embarking on a campaign to build and grow, as well as Prince Albert… that we will be able to move from serving 20 per cent of the need for families in this province to being closer to 50 per cent,” said Tammy Forrester, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Saskatchewan.

Click to play video: 'Ronald McDonald House needs Edmonton volunteer support'

Ronald McDonald House needs Edmonton volunteer support

Forrester said the organization helps families that have to travel 40 kilometres or more for health-care services for children.

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The organization has been around since 1985 but has only had one house in Saskatoon.

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The dual campaign aims to raise $22 million to better serve the province in the northern and southern regions.

The Miles to Go campaign says over 5,000 kids are admitted to the hospital in Saskatchewan who belong to families who need to travel more than 100 kilometres for a round trip, adding that the population is growing.

Lindsay Williamson is one such mother who has had to utilize the Ronald McDonald House for her son, Mason.

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Mason is a two-year-old who has spinal muscular atrophy, and doctors said that Mason had low muscle tone and was missing some reflexes at birth.

“Unfortunately at the time of Mason’s birth, there was no screening for spinal muscular atrophy in Saskatchewan. However there is now, so we very much hope other families don’t have to go through what we did to get that diagnosis,” Williamson said.

She also has a six-year-old daughter, but said medical complexities was something new for their family.

“Mason is a happy two-year -old, but life does look different for him.”

Mason uses a wheelchair and also requires a range of other medical equipment for his daily routines, but that hasn’t slowed him down.

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“The personality on this little boy, he just lights up a room. He is beyond chatty, talks to everybody he sees.”

Click to play video: 'Ronald McDonald House campaign launch'

Ronald McDonald House campaign launch

Williamson said Mason may be bound to a wheelchair, but he just wants to explore the world and can get up to mischief with the best of them.

Williamson said she and her husband have to wear several hats to care for Mason and that can be hard, likening the work to the roles of physiotherapists, nurses or doctors.

“Sometimes we just want to be mom and dad.”

She said there’s nothing solid with Mason’s diagnosis, but there are some kids with his same diagnosis that are walking, so there is hope.

“Our hope for him is that he is happy exploring the world, whatever that looks like for him.”

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Some of Mason’s specialists are located in Saskatoon, so Williamson’s family utilizes that city’s Ronald McDonald House.

“It just feels like we have a whole new family.”

She also said the Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon has a feeling of home.

“They really just try to make a really inconvenient time a little more convenient.”

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