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Interview with a Hockey Captain: John Barr


We’ll be spotlighting some of the hockey captains who are leading the way for Hockey Challenge this February 27th. Keep your eyes peeled for more interviews in this series throughout the month! 

John Barr is a hard-core hockey player and fan, dedicated to helping the Ronald McDonald House through the Hockey Challenge. He started playing with the Microsoft Windows team at a Hockey Challenge 12 years ago and has been hooked ever since. “One of the great things about the Hockey Challenge is seeing my friends, coworkers, and fundraisers getting John Barr Skatinginvolved in a good cause, having fun and enjoying the day. It’s great to see people get so passionate about the Ronald McDonald House. To watch someone learn about the cause through hockey, give out of their own pocket and to donate without thinking twice, that just means the world to me,” says Barr.

His involvement started as a player, but has gradually gotten more and more involved with Hockey Challenge. “When I first started, I didn’t know anybody and I wasn’t a great player. My skate blade even came off in one of the games in the first few years. But somebody from the equipment team at the Seattle Thunderbirds fixed my skate, and I was back out like a half-period later. I’ve also developed some great friendships through this event and it’s just a wonderful community,” says Barr. A few years later, he began managing his own team with his fellow employees from Microsoft’s XBOX team. Barr’s current group of players has grown so large that he now splits them into two teams, with players from a diverse variety of local companies. “We’ve had some pretty heated games – it’s hockey and nobody wants to lose. But at the same time, everybody is out there having fun and having a good time. And everyone is playing hard, and that’s fun to see too,” Barr says. Although Barr’s team doesn’t have a specific rival team, they are always trying to raise the most money at the fundraiser. “If there were one team to beat, it would be the Microsoft IT team because they are so great at fundraising!” 

What Barr finds most compelling about the House is the fact that it creates an instant community for families who are far away from home and who need comfort during such a stressful time. For the families that stay at the House, this helps them find the strength and support they need to get through challenges. “Community is a big thing to me, it’s one of my values. The Ronald McDonald House creates an instant community so displaced people who come from Alaska or Montana or wherever they’re coming from can immediately get that support system,” he says. Communal housing means parents meet over dinner, bond with others who have a child with a similar diagnosis, and are part of a community that understands the specific needs of their child – even if that is something as simple as making sure that surfaces are constantly sanitized to protect kids with low immunity.

John Barr's Hockey Team “What’s fascinating is that when you start fundraising, you start seeing all these connections to the Ronald McDonald House. You’ll get a story from someone you would never know stayed at the House. It’s one thing to see a video about what the House does, and another thing to hear a story that’s just one-degree of separation away from you,” Barr explains.

When he isn’t on the ice himself as a hockey captain, Barr can be found taking part in games through a local hockey league and managing an enthusiastic community of fans for NHL to Seattle. You can support Barr’s team on his website. Barr will be matching donations to the NHLtoSeattle fundraising page up to a $1000.   

First Ronald McDonald House to Open in Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ronald McDonald House at Alaska Native Medical Center to Open in 2017 Anchorage, AK (January 11, 2016) – The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Western Washington & Alaska will expand their current partnership to include the first Ronald McDonald House® in Alaska on one floor of… Continue Reading

Holiday Cookie Recipes from Evie

In the spirit of Christmas giving, our resident pantry manager and cookie baker Evie is back with two of her great recipes for holiday treats just for you! First, enjoy this recipe for Holly Springs – almond and raspberry sandwich cookies that are decorated with a red and green holly design on top. Evie says she doesn’t… Continue Reading

Being a Kitchen Supervisor at the House

Rick Chatterton is one of our kitchen supervisors here at the House. “I first found out about the House through a mutual friend, who was working for a company that would regularly provide dinners at House C,” says Rick. “I came across Adriel, another kitchen supervisor, and I thought, ‘Wow, this job is right up… Continue Reading

Thank You Side by Side!

In the spirit of giving thanks this week, we are profiling one of our meal groups who goes above and beyond, serving a meal each week to our families. Side by Side is a amazing partner to us at the House. Run out of University Presbyterian Church, the organization provides meals every Monday. Although the… Continue Reading

An interview with Chef Joe

Seattle Chef Joe has a passion for cooking for intimate gatherings, extravagant get-togethers and everything in between. Lucky for us, that in between also includes a stop at the Ronald McDonald House to serve dinner as part of our Family Meal Program. “I task myself with looking for places to volunteer my services,” says Joe.… Continue Reading

Volunteer Spotlight: LionheART Arts & Crafts Group

Volunteer Spotlight: LionheART Arts & Crafts Group

Paula Branvold and Carrie Blocher has been co-organizing the LionheART arts and crafts activity group for 8 years. The group began with just two members, who worked in advertising but soon became a tight knight group of creatives who wanted to give back to the local community. Every month, they come to the House with… Continue Reading

Emma’s Story

Emma’s Story

Emma’s parents, Leah and Jacob, were both on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard when the sweet two-year-old began acting unusually. With no apparent cause, the plucky toddler suddenly acted limp and in pain when time to get up in the morning. At an examination, her doctors found a small lump on her femur,… Continue Reading

Sota’s Story

Sota’s Story

Ask any parent of a seriously ill child and they will tell you they’d go to the ends of the earth to save their child. When they say they’d pay any price, that’s true as well. Happily, most parents aren’t challenged on this the way Sota’s family has been. Sota and his twin brother, Taichi,… Continue Reading

Grace’s Story

Grace’s Story

Given a choice, Grace would likely spend most of her time playing one of her favorite sports and hanging out with her teammates. An avid athlete from a very young age, she made the varsity team for softball in her first few weeks as a high school freshman. It was shortly after starting high school… Continue Reading

Our Mission:

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska, we support seriously ill children and their families. At the Seattle House, we provide a "home-away-from-home" to help families through a difficult time. We also provide a van service for families staying in Anchorage while their children receive medical care. Our IRS tax number or EIN is: 91-1061043.

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Phone: 206.838.0600

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