Responders like you help a Fort McMurray family return home

May 16, 2017

Family pic Christina and Chris MacKay stand in the kitchen of their new house in Fort McMurray. It’s nearly finished – the walls are painted, the cupboards are in – they are just awaiting the final touches.

Building a new house was never on the young family’s bucket list.

“It’s been stressful, but at the same time I’m glad we were here doing it together because I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else besides Fort McMurray right now,” Christina says.

The MacKay family lost their home in the heavily-impacted neighbourhood of Abasand in last May’s wildfire. Christina, who was pregnant at the time, evacuated with their two young sons to Cape Breton to spend the summer with their extended family. Chris, who works as a firefighter, remained behind to battle the flames.
When the family first visited a Canadian Red Cross office during the evacuation, they didn’t know where to begin.

“You are so overwhelmed because you need everything – everything is gone,” Christina explains. “We had the kids and we had ourselves, and then we only had the clothes on our backs.”

Through the generosity of Canadians and Responders like you, the MacKays received support for items such as clothing, groceries, supplies for the children, and return flights to Fort McMurray. However, beyond the financial support, what touched the family was seeing how Canadians rallied across the country to help the residents of Fort McMurray in whatever way they could.

One year after the wildfires, the MacKays are looking forward to building a life in their new home – watching their sons learn to ride bikes in their cul-de-sac and spend summer days playing at their community park.
“It was a tough, tough time for so many people and just knowing that the rest of Canada was behind us was just amazing and we are just grateful,” Christina says.

 “This organization is amazing. They do so many amazing things and they’ve helped so many people. Truly, it makes me proud to be a Canadian.”

Thank you for being a Red Cross Responder.

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