In its first five years, BobcaThon raised nearly $350,000 in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. But for the Ohio University students behind this year-long fundraiser that culminates in a 12-hour dance marathon, it’s the stories of courage and resilience from area residents served by the nonprofit that will echo throughout their lifetimes.
“There are moments of real emotion where we all kind of realize what the impact of this event is and how important all our work is,” said Maggie Wolf, BSC ’20.
An Ohio University senior, Wolf has participated in BobcaThon since her first year at OHIO and is serving as president of this year’s fundraiser, which will come to a close on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the BobcaThon 2020 12-hour dance marathon. The event is the pinnacle moment in a year-long campus- and community-wide quest to raise awareness for children with serious illness and their families as well as funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, which provides free housing, meals and other assistance to families of children in Columbus-area hospitals.
Wolf has seen the impact of the nonprofit’s work firsthand. A couple close to her stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while their son underwent cancer treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Sadly, the boy passed away last summer.
“That’s the connection I really feel now,” said Wolf, adding that stories like these are the reason BobcaThon exists and a big component of the dance marathon, during which families served by the Ronald McDonald House take the stage and share their experiences.
These stories, Wolf said, don’t always have happy endings, but they remind everyone how necessary their efforts are.
“A lot of the time it’s professors or administrators from the University who are telling these stories about their children,” Wolf said. “And even if you might not know the professor, it’s really eye-opening to see that they live right here in the community and are facing such a challenge.”
Coming off a record-setting year in which BobcaThon raised more than $110,000, the BobcaThon 2020 leadership team worked with advisers in the Ohio University Alumni Association to solicit some expert advice on how to sustain the fundraiser’s momentum. They consulted with an individual who has studied dance marathon fundraisers and who advised them, in light of their extraordinary success over the past five years, to focus their efforts more on awareness than dollars raised.
“We shifted our focus to outreach and trying to partner with as many student organizations as possible, so we could set ourselves up better for future fundraising,” Wolf said. “We added new positions to our team, so I think we grew in different aspects than just the dollar amount that everyone sees.”
Wolf said that organizers expect about 370 dancers to participate this year, 55 more than last year. Each BobcaThon participant has been asked to raise at least $100.
For the students who participate in BobcaThon, it’s an opportunity to make an impact on a community that most of them will only call home for a few years and a chance to see the power of their philanthropy in action.
For Wolf, her final BobcaThon will be bittersweet as the fundraiser has not only been a significant part of her OHIO experience, but one she will carry with her after she graduates.
“BobcaThon is what helped me secure my internship and made me passionate about nonprofits going forward,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about how to present myself in a professional way and how to lead my peers, which at first can be kind of awkward. And, being a part of BobcaThon has given me a chance to give back to a community that has given me the best four years.”
The sixth annual BobcaThon kicks off at noon on Feb. 15 in the Baker University Center Ballroom and ends at midnight when this year’s fundraising total will be announced. For information on how you can get involved in and support BobcaThon 2020, visit the BobcaThon Facebook page.
If a fire truck comes to your house as lunch is being made, that might be a bad sign that lunch is burnt. But when the 108th Columbus Fire Recruit Class came to our Ronald McDonald House to make lunch on Wednesday, Aug. 7, the group brought a fire truck too. Not because the students & instructors weren’t confident in their cooking abilities. They brought the truck so after preparing and serving lunch for our families, family members were welcome to go out to the parking area behind the House and learn all about CFD Engine 40.
Patient Forest Winterscheidt’s mom, Kathryn Winterscheidt, both of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma said, “The house is a great home away from home and it’s really fun to have extra things to go above and beyond what to do at your own house.” “It was a real treat for him to see the truck and the flashing lights.” Forest said he thought it was, “Pretty Cool… using the water hose!” Kathryn said he learned, “The truck only fit 6 people so he wasn’t sure how the rest of them got here.”
Abigail Brumme, our Family Activities Manager, said, “We were beyond excited to have the recruits visit the House with the truck! As the Family Activities Manager, I have the honor of working with many groups that bring in exciting opportunities for our families to participate in. This was definitely an opportunity that myself and the families will remember forever. The recruits were incredibly kind and welcoming with our families and made it an extra special experience for them. They made sure that our families were able to tour the truck, use the hose, learn about the equipment and did all of it with a big smile on their face. We are so grateful for this opportunity and the joy it brought to our families. A big thanks to the recruits who made it such a special experience!”
The 108th Columbus Fire recruit class members are working to graduate in next month as state certified firefighters, fire inspectors and emergency medical technicians. Click here to see more pictures from this special day in our Facebook photo album. [All photos courtesy Columbus Division of Fire Public Information Office.]
We’re so honored to announce that yesterday’s inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show raised more than $135,000 to help keep families near their children in Columbus area hospitals. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, along with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, hosted this first-ever event benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The show brought together our community to celebrate agriculture and support children and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times.
The steer show included a “sale” following the same procedures as a typical livestock sale, but without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, all buyer sale proceeds are going to benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. The show and sale featured local celebrity exhibitors who partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. The community could also make a donation toward their favorite celebrity’s fundraising page for the event. Thanks to all of the exhibitors, the 4-H families, donors, and steer buyers for making this inaugural show a huge success! Thanks, also, to all who supported and attended the event, especially Ohio Cattlemen Association members and county affiliates, OSU extension offices, the Ohio State Fair, and to auctioneers Ron Kreis, Johnny Regula, Darby Walton and Kevin Wendt.
2019 Dean’s Charity Steer Show Winners:
Best Steer: Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports analyst, with 4-H member Sydney Sanders – Highland County Best Showmanship: Bob Peterson, public servant and eighth-generation Fayette County farmer, with 4-H member Victoria Waits – Fayette County People’s Choice Award: Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau, with 4-H member Sam Sutherly – Miami County.
Remaining Celebrity Exhibitors:
Cathann Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State
University CFAES, with 4-H member Wyatt Osborn – Highland County; Matt Barnes, NBC4 morning anchor, with 4-H member Caroline Winter – Pickaway County; Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property & Casualty, with 4-H member Allison Davis – Carroll County; Bobby Carpenter, sports talk host on 97.1 The Fan, with 4-H member Kyle Kardotzke – Erie County; Jay Edwards, Athens County small business owner and real estate investor, with 4-H member Austin Pullins – Athens County; Clay Hall, sports director for ABC 6/FOX 28, with 4-H member Shala Graham – Licking County; Woody Johnson, host of “Woody and the Wake-Up Call” on WCOL-FM 92.3, with 4-H member Lauren Schulte – Putnam County; Rick Malir, chief executive officer and co-founder of City Barbeque, with 4-H member Jocelyn Belleville – Wood County; Bob McElligott, sports broadcaster for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with 4-H member McKalynne Helmke – Tuscarawas County; Shelley Meyer, former first lady of Ohio State football, with 4-H member Taylor Poff – Geauga County.
Watch Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal’s report on the event here:
On Wednesday, July 10, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary with cupcakes for visitors to the room. Families and hospital staff were invited to the family room to take part in the celebration. We invited Trish Wright, president of the Wright Ways Foundation, to the family room. She and her family had used the family room almost exactly a year ago. Trish had given birth to Chosen at the hospital and Chosen had to stay in the NICU for a few months. Her family found the family room to be just what they needed during that time. Chosen and her family came back for our celebration and to help Trish donate care bags for NICU moms on behalf of the Wright’s Way Foundation. Click the image below to hear her story.
You may have seen or heard of a steer auction or livestock sale at a county or state fair, or even attended one, but this one will be a little different. The Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, Cathann A. Kress, together with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, are hosting the first-ever Dean’s Charity Steer Show at this year’s Ohio State Fair benefiting RMHC of Central Ohio.
A website set up for this event by OSU says, “This event brings together our community to celebrate agriculture and support kids and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times. The show and sale will feature local celebrity exhibitors partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. All funds raised will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Ohio.”
The celebrity exhibitors, including such high-profile members of the community as Dean Kress, CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg, and former “First Lady of OSU Football,” Shelley Meyer are having a friendly competition to raise donations leading up to the July 30 steer show. You can find your favorite celebrity or make a general donation at give.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
The steer show will be held at 2 p.m. in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center at the Ohio Expo Center during the state fair on July 30. Awards will be given out for best steer, showmanship, and people’s choice. There will be a livestock “sale,” however, without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, winning bids will go to the RMHC of Central Ohio.
As the Dean’s Charity Steer Show website asks, “Can you imagine what it’s like for a family traveling for childhood medical care? Or if you had to travel for care for your child for two or nine years? RMHC helps miracles thrive.”
This week’s blog is a “thank you” note to all who have made The Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital such a success in it’s first year. Since opening in July last year, the room has served over 500 families, including more than 7700 family members, for nearly 2300 hours. Those are hours spent taking a break from the patient’s room nearby and taking an opportunity to grab a bite to eat, get a cup of coffee, doing some laundry, taking a quick shower, relieving a little stress playing a video game, or just relaxing at the kitchen table.
Here are just some of the recent comments folks have given after using the family room:
“So thankful for this room. My second son was in the NICU before you had this room and I wished there was a place that my husband could have brought my other child and I could have visited. It would’ve been fun for my son too. My third son was in the NICU three months ago and this room helped so much. I stayed at the hospital with my newborn for 2 weeks and going up to this room even to just shower was a nice break from reality, even if it was only 30 minutes.”
“Loved the NICU family night. Glad to have the ability to bring my food to the hospital and have a space to keep it cold and heat it up. Saved me money.”
“It was awesome to be able to sit down and talk to parents who were going through the same thing. It was calming and relaxing to talk to other parents.”
So “thank you” to all of the donors and volunteers who have made this special room possible and who continue to help us keep families close. Thanks to our partners at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital for making the room possible. Thanks to the hospital’s employees & volunteers as well as the staff at Nationwide Children’s NICU at Riverside who all make sure families take advantage of this amazing space. And thanks to The Blue Jackets Foundation, The Lady Jackets, Worthington Industries, and Safelite AutoGlass for making Central Ohio’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room possible right from the start.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to get more information about volunteering at the family room inside Riverside Methodist Hospital, email Vicki.Chappelear@rmhc-centralohio.org.
Written and Submitted By: Lion Jane Jarrow
In early March, the Tri-Village Lions Club was preparing to do a fundraiser in support of CureJM (www.curejm.org ), following on the heels of a successful “Visit to Santa’s Workshop” in December (www.tinyurl.com/SantasWorkshop-2016 ). We planned to invite children in the community to bring us their favorite stuffed animals for an overnight visit to the Easter Bunny. But as long as we were at it, why not bring the fun home to some children who might not otherwise be celebrating all the Spring rituals (Easter egg hunts on the top of the list!)? So we decided to share OUR Easter festivities with the children at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
We couldn’t think of a way to safely collect (and then return) stuffed animals from the children, so we decided that they should get NEW stuffed animals from us. Of course, if you are going to celebrate Easter, you should have an Easter basket. And, of course, that Easter Basket should have Easter eggs. But that was going to mean we needed a LOT of decorated Easter eggs.
We reached out to the Tri-Village community to help us make Easter a little more fun for the kids at RMH-C and NCH. We invited folks to stop by for just a few minutes to the MCL Cafeteria at Kingsdale (the home base for the Tri-Village Lions) and decorate an Easter egg for a sick child. There was a terrific response from our community, with more than 100 people turning out over the course of an afternoon to put together an Easter egg (actually, most folks were having so much fun they stayed for two or three!). Added to that, students from Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington and Stevenson Elementary School in Grandview asked if there was something specific they could do to be involved in the project, since they were already focused on doing things to support the children at RMH-C. We assigned them specific roles in preparing the Easter baskets and considered Phase One of our project a complete success.
Phase Two found us collecting stuffed animals from community children (in exchange for a $10 donation to CureJM) and taking them overnight to see the Easter Bunny. While we were at it, we asked the Bunny to pose for some pictures with the animals that would go with our gift baskets, too. He was more than happy to oblige, and we were able to put together a little souvenir “photo album” of the trip to hand out along with the baskets.
Finally, we delivered Easter baskets, photo albums, stuffed animals, and activity books to 40 children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and another 20 at the Ronald McDonald House in the week before Easter. We thank the Tri-Village Community for supporting the Tri-Village Lions Club as we, hopefully, brought some big smiles to some little faces. You can watch the little video we put together about all this at:
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!”