Families celebrate life, Christmas at Ronald McDonald House

SPOKANE, Wash. - While many people choose to spend the holidays away from home, others have to for their loved ones, which was the case for 22 families at the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane. 

Even though those families are away, Santa and hope still finds them.

If you glance around the main room of the house and hear the laughter of children, you can find the meaning of Christmas from kids like Gabby LeDuc. Gabby moved to the Ronald McDonald House with her mom from Montana in May to be treated for leukemia. She's only six-years-old and wanted to spend Christmas with family.

Christmas at Ronald McDonald House

"We miss being with her cousins that we would have been with last night, and today," Gabby's mom Kathy said.

So instead, the LeDucs are spending Christmas with their new family at the Ronald McDonald House. Her dad, Ryan Leduc, was able to take a few days off from his job in Kalispell to visit his little girl.

"I really am proud of how strong she's been through this," he said.

He also brought presents, which put Gabby in a good mood. When Gabby talked about the pink guitar she was given for Christmas from local country artist Luke Yates, she really lit up.

"You know what's funny? If you flip a pancake on your head, ha ha," Gabby said.

One of her favorite presents was a voice modulator she actually bought for her dad.

For many people, presents can bring joy for a moment. The presents give Gabby an excuse to escape, for a moment, from what's going on around her. Kathy LeDuc said it doesn't matter where you are, or what's going on, being together is the best present.

"This is one Christmas that we'll be away from home so we can have many more with our daughter," she said.

Gabby expects to be able to go back home to Kalispell within the next two months. The family will still have to drive five hours to Spokane once a month for her treatment.