By Rick Shepherd
She’s finally back in her home state. Zariah Donovan and her family’s story have been featured in local TV news reports, People Magazine, Inside Edition, and on Fox News. Today, her hometown TV station back in Utah reported the very good news that the long-term Nationwide Children’s Hospital patient was finally back in her home state with her mom, dad, and sister. Shawn Donovan, her father, quit his career to stay here in Columbus at the Ronald McDonald House while she was across the street at the hospital. Zariah’s mom, Z, stayed with her sister back in Utah. That arrangement would have Shawn staying with us for 2 1/2 years. We last featured the family in a blog post here just before the holidays, when Shawn Donovan was finally given word that his daughter would be able to go back home to Utah.
Last week, Shawn drove home with all of the stuff he had accumulated from such a long stay here at the Ronald McDonald House while Z came here to fly home with Zariah. Click here to see the update from station KSL-TV today on Zariah’s return to Utah.
Marilyn & Bob Holb like to volunteer their time reading to students at Salem Elementary School in Columbus. About a month ago, Marilyn read the book, “How I Became a Super Hero” to fourth grade students at the school.
The book was written by our House’s frequent guest, 8-year-old Ashton Zari. Ashton was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease around his third birthday and since then, he has spent more than 300 nights at the Ronald McDonald House. Ashton says he decided to “write a book to make people in the hospital feel better”. He also says he wanted to encourage people to understand the power of kindness.
After finishing reading the book to those 4th graders, the Holbs informed the children that all of the profit raised by the book is donated to The Ronald McDonald House. This inspired the children to do a little writing of their own. They decided to write greeting cards to Ashton to thank him for writing the book and for helping the Ronald McDonald House. They also wanted to let him know the book was uplifting for them too. Marilyn & Bob delivered the cards to Ashton while he was staying at the House recently, and we were able to listen in as Ashton read a few of the cards aloud to his mom, Amanda, sister Addison, and brother Alex while sitting in the Ronald McDonald House dining room. Click the links below to hear Ashton read a few of the cards.
Ashton just celebrated his ninth birthday on December 20th while staying at our Ronald McDonald House and shared the celebration by giving to other kids staying with us . Happy belated birthday, Ashton! For more about Asthon, visit Ashtonsbirthdaywish.org, or you can purchase “How I Became A Super Hero” directly at Ashtonsbirthdaywish.bigcartel.com.
Zariah Donovan has been at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for 2 1/2 years. Her family has been staying at the Ronald McDonald House over that time making their’s one of the longest-stays at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. Now, her parents have finally learned Zariah be released from the hospital. After spending four Christmas’ here in Columbus, her father, Shawn Donovan, will finally be checking out of the room at the Ronald McDonald House and the family will be able to all be together in their home in Utah for the first time. Congratulations to the Donovans!
Today, WBNS-TV heralded the news, leading off it’s 5:30 p.m. newscast with Donovan’s story. You can watch the story here:
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is excited to offer a brand new event for you and your little ones!
Pirates & Princesses is a swashbuckling good time for young children ages 10 and under to “walk the plank,” enjoy a photo booth, treasure hunt, kiss a frog (not a real one…ewww!), play Magic Wand Toss or Dig for Buried Treasure, and dress like pirates and princesses for a day in the Ivory Room of Miranova.
And, bonus—valet parking for the event is FREE!
You and your child (or children!) can come anytime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Sunday, June 11. Stay as long as you like for additional activities including, face painting, tattoos, Pin-the-Kiss on the frog, a fishing game, craft corner, tiara making, tea cup decorating, a dance floor, and a movie-viewing area.
Upgrade you and your little one to V.I.P. tickets (that’s Very Important Princess or Very Important Pirate!) to include pirate or princess training, hair and make-up studio, and a super cool Treasure Hunt.
An online auction will also be available as is a dress shopping area for you and your littlest princess, housing the finest gear royalty could ever dream.
Parents and their little ones will enjoy Cameron Mitchell catering that will make even the simplest kid’s cuisine a culinary delight fit for a pirate and princess!
The very best part of the whole event is that money raised, even from ticket sales, benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, serving families with seriously ill children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and other area hospitals. Money donated to our organization, including through events like Pirates & Princesses, allows us to provide a home for families whose children are going through a medical difficulty.
And if you want to go one step further for our organization, after buying your ticket to the event, sponsor a family at the House to come to the party, too! You’ll see first-hand how your generosity is changing lives at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House.
Thank you for your continued support!
What is better than golf? This is #mywhy. Golfing for a cause. I love fundraising for the RMHC of Central Ohio through the Joe Mortellaro Junior Golf! As I begin fundraising for my third junior golf outing, I think about how lucky I am that I have been able to raise thousands of dollars for those families that need to use the house. I have been the top fundraiser the past two years, and have enjoyed not only the junior outing, but the Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic where I have met two of my favorite coaches: Urban Meyer and Thad Matta. My parents even let me bid on some items at the silent auction! Getting to golf through this outing allows me to help the house while I get to enjoy my favorite sport.
In the past three years, I have putted for change outside a local store, sent letters to area businesses, family and friends, and of course, put in my own money. Why have I done this? My answer is because it matters. There are families that need to use RMHC to remain close to their children, and they should not have to worry about where they are going to stay. It doesn’t matter that I am only 9-years-old. My efforts are as needed as my parents or even strangers. We can all give our time, services or money to help RMHC of Central Ohio. Throughout the year, I also collect pop tabs, have purchased items off the wishlist, and gave money for an organization to make a meal. There are lots of ways people can make a difference at RMHC.
Although I hope I raise the most money in fundraising again this year, I know whatever amount I am able to raise will make a big difference to RMHC of Central Ohio. Please consider donating your time or money today!
~ Written By Junior Golfer Griffin Beach
Meika (a staff member) asked me why I like volunteering for Ronald McDonald House. She wanted me to write something down and share with everyone. Well, I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t know the exact words to say but today was my turning point. I saw a young woman today who was crying over losing her child. Everyone in the office was hugging her, talking to her, trying to console her the best way they knew how. That’s what this House is all about. It exudes love and compassion for these families and their children. I saw this on day one when my friend Jean (God rest her soul) brought me to the House to see if I would like it here. She had me hooked at day one! The brave little people here are so special to me. One day, for example, a little girl came up to me and said, “I had a heart transplant,” and showed me her scar. She said, “I had to come today for tests and had to lay still for lots of hours.” My heart melted for her. I told her how brave I thought she was and she smiled that big smile. She is just one of the precious moments that I have shared here. The good Lord knows why He sent me here. I cherish every day. I love you all. The tears have been rolling steady since I started this letter. So, I think you will all get my message.
Love to all, Chris Hicks
Written By: The Smith Family: Jen, Ryan, Bren and Gideon
Summer 2016 we went in for an ultrasound to measure how big our little man was since due date was quickly approaching in the beginning of August. My favorite ultrasound tech noticed something that didn’t seem right. She went and got another tech that was more advanced to take a look. She also got the doctor who was filling in for mine who was on vacation at the time. They spotted what appeared to be a mass on his heart. They decided to send me down to OSU for a level 2 ultrasound to see what it could be. After going down to OSU it was determined there was something on the baby’s heart and we would need to team up with Nationwide and get a fetal echo as well as an MRI performed. Once we had both performed we met with a couple different doctors and came up with a game plan that I would come down to Columbus to deliver and our little man would be taken to Nationwide to have tests run as soon as he was born because of what they saw. They were confident they figured out what he had, but couldn’t officially diagnose him until after he was born.
A coworker of mine suggested asking if they could put my husband, my mother, possibly our 5 ½ year old daughter and once I got out of the hospital even myself up at the Ronald McDonald House across from Nationwide. I inquired at one of various appointments we had at Nationwide leading up to our son’s birth and they set it up for us to make this our home for the week we would be down there.
On August 6, 2016 Gideon James came into this world at a whopping 9 lbs 5 oz. Luckily for me there was no room for him at the main campus at Nationwide so he got to stay with me at OSU, only he had to hang out in their NICU and not in the room with me. Sadly the next morning I received a phone call that they are loading him up to go over to Nationwide and I need a nurse to roll me down to say bye until I could get a day pass to go visit him. I got down to give him Mommy love before they took him only to see he was already strapped into his transportation gear and I got to hold his hand from the opening of the carrier. My Mom had already been at the Ronald McDonald House and my husband had stayed the night with me at the hospital.
Flash forward to a few days later, I’m finally discharged from the hospital and I get to move in with my husband and mom into the Ronald McDonald house. Needless to say it was nothing like I had expected. The house was warm and inviting with everyone so kind and helpful from the moment you walk from the doors. The volunteers who came in to cook the meals for not only us, but the other families were friendly and took the stress away on having to worry about food. The beds were comfy and having a hot shower to freshen up in our own private room was wonderful. A few days before all of us were able to head back to our hometown my mother in law brought our daughter down to us so she could join in and get spend time with her brother. The house definitely won her over too with the various rooms in the house she could explore and play in. By far her favorite thing was one night she was invited to a princess party in the princess room. She still gleams that she got to dress like a princess and keep her princess dress. Which is why I think she insists on trying to go back with us every time we have to go down.
Gideon was officially diagnosed during his stay in the NICU with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Luckily for us, two of his doctors from Nationwide come to our local hospital so we can utilize them from the comforts of our hometown. However, his neurologist requires frequent trips, right now of every 6-8 week visits. Due to the frequent visits we have become frequent guests at the Ronald McDonald House. The last two trips to the house we have got our church involved in taking up donations that we can bring as our way to say Thank you for being there for us. Our daughter who is now 6 does her part by collecting tabs to send with us as well. She has been able to have family members all the way from New Mexico mail her tabs. She created a video we had posted on my Facebook page in which she shows some of the tabs and tells people why they need to donate them and how they help families. Because of the video she has had various family members and some of Mommy’s friends mail her the tabs that don’t live close by to us.
The Ronald McDonald house has been a huge blessing to my family and I know it will continue to be as we continue to have frequent doctor’s appointments that our son will have. I encourage anyone who wants to help whether collecting tabs like our 6 year old does, to collecting items off their wish list, to volunteering to cook a meal, play games or make crafts with the families to do so. Don’t do it out of pity, but do it out of love and you will touch the lives of all who enter the house. We may be just one family, but what little we do to help makes a difference for other families.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House, we know how important it is to provide family-centered care for the tiniest patients we serve—children. And we are fortunate to be part of a large team of professionals who believe in, and focus on, that mission here in Central Ohio.
This week, along with our partners at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth, and Mount Carmel Health, we celebrate one of the most important members of that team—nurses.
May 6 through May 12 is National Nurses Week! The week ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern day nursing of which there are over 3.1 million registered nurses in America. The purpose of the week-long celebration is to raise awareness of the value of nursing and help educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of the American people.
In Central Ohio, we’re lucky to have medical facilities that employ such caring and dedicated nursing professionals, who help our families through difficult and trying times.
So take a moment this week, and every day, to join with us and recognize the outstanding nurses in our area with a heartfelt, “Thank you!”
By: Holly Robinson
Where to begin to talk about the Ronald McDonald house and our history is a lot harder than I thought.
We are the Robinson Family and have used Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for 17 years. So in the next few paragraphs, I will be summing up 17 years of our family’s life. Our daughter, Becca, was born 9 weeks premature. We started at the Ronald McDonald House in Akron, Ohio and for the last 10 years we’ve been here in Columbus.
Our experiences in the beginning were more terrifying than they are now. We were told our baby girl probably didn’t have a brain stem, would repeatedly stop breathing which led her to have to be revived more times than I can remember. The NICU was always able to keep us up to date on what was going on and the Ronald McDonald House was always able to be our home and place of comfort.
For the first several months I didn’t ever leave hospital. When it was time for my husband to return to work, he was still able to visit and then sleep at RMHC. RMHC provided a place where we could shower, eat, take naps and sometimes even allow for one of us to get a full night sleep while the other sat with Becca.
Now the Ronald McDonald House takes on a whole new meaning for us. We live about an hour and a half away from the hospital and all of the specialists (including Pulmonology, Neurology, Urology, Nephrology, Behavioral Health, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, and Orthopedics) that we see at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at least once a month. We stay at the House in Columbus, the evening before those days and sometimes the evening after. We usually try to get all of our appointments scheduled for just one day and then sleep at the House so we can save the 3 hour round trip and completely tiring out Becca.
As our way of giving back to what we call our “second” home, we try to volunteer our time and do fundraisers for this great organization because we would be lost without the outpouring love, support, and resources for our family. We cannot say thank you enough times to The Ronald McDonald House.
17 years is a long time to depend on something as important as they are! Just for a quick update on what 17 years of wonderful care at the hospital and RMHC has done for our daughter. She is so successful and in all Honors classes as a High School Junior and attends college as a post-secondary student. She drives, performs in plays, sings, dances, plays and marches in band, is in National Honor Society and many much more! She still has to be seen about once a month and takes about 10 medications a day but she perseveres through it all and can do anything she sets her mind to. Her future plans are to double major in Music Therapy and Special Education when she attends college.Her future wouldn’t be possible with The Ronald McDonald House! We are so blessed and so thankful for this organization.
I have the amazing privilege of getting to meet so many wonderful people—people who I would not have an opportunity to meet otherwise. I recently had a conversation with a mom, which is nothing new; I have conversations with moms all the time. This conversation, however, was especially exciting. She is from another country and does not speak English. She and I have met several times over the past year and have always used an interpreter. During a recent visit, she came into my office and in very broken English, and many hand gestures, she communicated with me. I was able to understand what she needed and was able to help her. As she stood to leave the office, she looked at me, smiled and said, We talked. What an amazing thing we shared.
The Ronald McDonald House is such a unique place; it brings together a group of people who are from vastly different backgrounds but share a common goal. These parents are looking for the best care for their child whether the child is born too early or a teenager, undergoing long-term treatment or a quick procedure, from the United States or the other side of the world. The differences become very small and a wonderful community is formed.
It is very exciting to meet all of these families and have conversations with them; even when those conversations consist of broken English and hand gestures.