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Sarnia-born ‘Great Pretenders’ brand gives back to Ronald McDonald House

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Journal staff

A recent donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charity was a personal one for Sarnia’s Joyce Keelan.

The founder and CEO of the successful ‘Great Pretenders’ line of play costumes, presented the $9,565 cheque this week after donating 15% of the brand’s direct-to-consumer sales from December 1 to 10 for the cause.

“I was in the early stages of starting my own business while raising three children, when my eldest, Kate, fell ill with a brain tumor,” said Keelan, who started the company Creative Education Canada back in 1989. “You can imagine the life-altering moment when I received the news.

“Being able to stay nearby Kate during the early days of her diagnosis and treatment was one less thing for me to stress about back then.”

The Ronald McDonald House provides hospitality to families with seriously ill children as they undergo treatment at partnering hospitals.

“My daughter recovered from her brain tumour, and now proudly stands beside me as we continue to grow the Great Pretenders brand,” Keelan added. “As we were reflecting on her childhood, the Ronald McDonald House quickly came to mind as a wonderful charity to sponsor this holiday season.”

Jen Seabrook and Lindsay Eve, Great Pretenders employees serving lasagna and spaghetti dinner. (Submitted photo)

Along with the monetary donation, the Great Pretenders team spent an evening at the Ronald McDonald House, cooking dinner for the guests, and even brought along a special Ice Princess to visit the children.

A second team of employees will return December 21.

“How can you own a kid’s costume company and not bring a princess to visit the children?” said Keelan. “We just couldn’t resist. Our production team made this dress in less than two days.”

Ice Princess (Madison Miller) shared Great Pretenders gifts with Stella & her sister, two guests staying at the Ronald McDonald House. (Submitted photo)

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