My name is Ashley Agle and one week ago was my first day as a Special Events Intern. I will be working alongside the Development Team to help execute the Handbag HULLABALOO!™ events in both Dublin and Powell. I discovered my passion for this mission during BobcaThon my freshman year. I knew from that moment I wanted to be more involved in BobcaThon and Ronald McDonald House Charities. I have spent the past two summers volunteering at the House in Akron and I have had three different positions on BobcaThon’s team. This year, I am a Co-Director of the Dance Marathon where my friend Dani and I are planning every minute of the big day. We are working on finalizing details because the Dance Marathon is just 24 short days away! Last year we raised $110,020.06 for the House and we are hoping to exceed that!
I am currently a senior studying Child and Family Studies. In a typical week, you will see me running all over campus. I am a proud Ohio University cheerleader where I get to cheer on the Bobcats at football games and men’s and women’s basketball games. I am a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity and I volunteer at various non-profits that highly impact the Athens community. I am also squeezing in as much time as I can with my friends before the bittersweet g-word happens… graduation. I have had a wonderful experience as a Bobcat!
I have dreamed of interning at the House and I am so grateful for this opportunity. Everyone has made me feel so welcomed and I look forward to every day I get to spend here. I am excited to make an impact on these families while learning as much as I can along the way!
Editor’s Note: You can support BobcaThon, which culminates with the big dance event on February 15 by clicking here. To learn more about Handbag HULLABALOO! sponsorship or tickets, click here for Dublin’s and click here for Powell’s.
Thinking of the best way to describe what the Ronald McDonald House provides families in one word can only be summed up as “relief”. Our family first became familiar with the Ronald McDonald House Charities when our twins, Grayson and Annalise, were born prematurely at 33 weeks exactly. We live in Michigan and the twins were born at Toledo Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. At the time of their unexpected birth we also had a 2-year-old daughter. One of the NICU nurses brought in an application for their Ronald McDonald House as a place for my husband and our oldest daughter, Annabella, to stay. As parents juggling the roller coaster of the NICU along with trying to maintain a sense of normal for our oldest daughter we were grateful to have this bright colorful place to just be with her. Little did we know at the time how big a part the Ronald McDonald House Charities would be in our lives.
Grayson and Annalise had a rocky first year of life with multiple hospital stays in our local children’s hospital; there was a constant back and forth between the twins of high fevers over 105 for 6-10 days, rashes, joint pain, inflammation, headaches, and poor growth. We had exhausted our local resources and our pediatrician recommended going to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for a 2nd opinion and the ability to see more extensive specialist. Our first appointment was shortly after the twins 1st birthday with Oncology/Hematology and they began to put the puzzle pieces together. Unlike most with their disease, a rare Autoinflammatory disease, we were lucky that our twins were diagnosed early at 18 months and began a lifelong treatment to minimize damage. We were travelling from Michigan to Columbus, Ohio sometimes weekly that first year as everything was sorted out. The trip for us is usually around 7 hours round trip which with small children especially when they were “flaring” is miserable for all involved. Our specialist tried to coordinate the twin’s appointments as much as possible but there were still times when we had a test on Monday and then see a specialist on a Wednesday or times when only one was admitted.
It is during these moments when we are trying to figure out how to juggle whether we should drive back and forth, get a hotel, what to do with the “healthy” siblings, that the comfort and relief of the Ronald McDonald House is indescribable. Instead of Nationwide Hospital being a place our children dread they love going “home” to see their family at the House. The house has taken the burden of worrying about mounting travel expenses off of our shoulders, the worry about packing enough to entertain two toddlers, where to go to eat, and how I am going to do laundry is erased because the house has a solution for all of that. Our family has made countless memories within the walls of the house over the past 2 years. This past trip in December was one where both twins have been very stable for the past month; seeing them climb the tree house, run around the playroom, and fined joy in the Christmas decorations of a place that truly feels as if it has some magic is something we will always cherish. As we watched them just enjoy being 3 year old’s my husband and I were discussing those many times that they didn’t have the energy to play, they physically couldn’t climb the tree house because it was too painful, and we spent hours rocking them in our room because of pain.
As parents of chronically ill children we cannot say thank you enough for all that you provide. You may not see it but the relief that this house brings to families is innumerable. In a world where our children are fighting a battle that nobody should endure you provide those much needed moments of hope, the laughter amongst tears, sweet I love you between families, and those moments where mom and dad can breath a sigh of relief and know that they are in a place where it is ok to take a deep breath and only worry about the most important thing, their family, because their family in the house will take care of everything else.
Thank you so much to everybody who tirelessly supports the Ronald McDonald Charities. Your support brings hope to families like ours.
“Thank you Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio for supporting my family and my GrandBoo in the #ronaldmcdonaldfamilyroom at OhioHealth Riverside NICU. Being in the NICU is a challenging time for all families. Some families spend months in the unit caring for their newborns, but to experience a place where families can go and relax and be taken care of, was truly a blessing. Thank you for being there for families and my family! My granddaughter JB thanks you too! Greatly appreciated! ❤”
This was the kind comment left by Cassandra White-Graves in response to the above picture of her and her granddaughter, Alaya Anderson, taken last month in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. It was posted to our Facebook page after we captured the moment of the two taking advantage of the play area in the room while awaiting the arrival of Alaya’s sister. Our Ronald McDonald Family Room at the hospital is the first RMFR in Central Ohio. It has only been open a few years and thousands of family members have already made use of the room to relax and recharge in between visits to the NICU or pediatric patient’s room.
One thing that visitors to the RMFR often say in feedback about using the room, is how grateful they are for the staff member who welcomed their family into this restful space. Yet, there aren’t staff members keeping the room available 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The fine folks that keep the room open and attend to the needs of families using it, are actually always volunteers! Recently, a web page was set up as a way for folks to show support for the RMFR and the volunteers who make sure the room is clean and whom provide an ear of empathy and sympathy. If you would like to contribute to this volunteer-based fundraiser, just click here.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Post House Creative are proud to proclaim that our short film, Something’s Missing, has won a gold Telly Award in the non-broadcast, general cause marketing category. The organizers of the 40th annual prestigious international competition announced the winners last week on a special website, www.tellyawards.com/winners. The link to the announcement about our film, specifically, can be found here: https://www.tellyawards.com/winners/2019/non-broadcast/general-cause-marketing/ronald-mcdonald-house-charities-somethings-missing/217487/
The five-minute film premiered online the night of the Academy Awards, February 24 and, just days later, won a gold Columbus ADDY award for Public Service (Film, Video, & Sound). Now, it’s being considered for an Addy award at the national level. It has been viewed more than 100,000 times on social media and, last month, was featured during the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival.
The short film, which is written, directed, edited, and produced by Post House Creative, tells the story of a family with a seriously ill child in a way that Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio has never done before. Post House Creative created and gifted Something’s Missing to Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio as a generous donation to promote the mission of the charity. The idea for the film was born out of a brainstorming session by our marketing & communication committee. Timothy & Kimberly Flaherty, owners of Post House Creative, are members of the committee and, once it was agreed that this visual story needed to be told, the Flahertys offered to immediately put a production together.
The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring video and television across all screens. Established in 1979, The Telly Awards receives over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. Entrants are judged by The Telly Awards Judging Council—an industry body of over 200 leading experts including advertising agencies, production companies, and major television networks, reflective of the multi-screen industry The Telly Awards celebrates.
Congratulations to Post House Creative!
By Christin Dornback
This is Christin, the new writing intern at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. I come to RMHC by way of The Ohio State University and their commitment to connect students and community through direct service-learning courses. I am a senior English major minoring in Nonprofit Management, and my biggest motivator is community and our shared stories. I love running and yoga, warm, caffeinated beverages, trying to keep houseplants alive, and hiking!
I’ll be contributing to this blog by sharing the stories that RMHC of Central Ohio holds, and I hope to connect the world outside with the magic that goes on inside of the house– because it really is magic.
During my freshman year of college, one of my loved ones, Erin, was diagnosed with a degenerative cognitive disease. For the months before and the months following the diagnosis, Erin was in and out of a children’s hospital. Although our family didn’t stay in a Ronald McDonald House during that time, I became aware of the specific needs that a family has while their child is in the hospital. I understand, on some level, that the place between needs and the fulfillment of them is where the magic must come in.
When you enter Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio, you understand that this is where magic lives.
Here at the House, there is an abundance of support and love in the air here – and it’s not simply because Valentine’s Day is approaching! There is kindness, smiles, and laughter throughout the halls: results of the dedicated care and efforts to bring comfort to our families by the staff and volunteers. I hope to share this magic, show you the hearts of our families, friends, staff, and volunteers, and help us all focus on joy in the face of hardship as RMH is Keeping Families Close in our community.
When folks think of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, most think of the big House located across from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But our chapter also operates the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The room is in the same area of the hospital as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Postpartum Unit. This family room opened in July of 2017 and RMHC of Central Ohio recently announced plans to open another family room in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, when that building opens next year.
If you’re interested in becoming a Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer after watching the video, email Vicki.Chappelear@rmhc-centralohio.org.
Changes are constant at our Ronald McDonald House. New to the House for 2018 is the BakerHostetler rocket elevator. Actually, the elevator has always been in the new wing since the addition was built in 2014. But earlier this year, the elevator transformed into a rocket! Thanks to a generous donation by BakerHostetler in Columbus, our new elevator really takes off. When the partners at the law firm decided they wanted to do something fun for the House, they held a contest among its employees and this was the winning idea. Optic Nerve Art Corporation painted the artwork in our first floor hallway and Blue Jackets indoor tree house, So BakerHostetler had that same created the artwork for our rocket elevator.
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:
When Columbus-based national retailer RG Barry decided to help families during the winter holidays, it was immediately clear that Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Ohio was the perfect partner. RG Barry is best known for its cozy slipper line, Dearfoams, and we are eager to partner with them to bring extra comfort to our families staying at their home away from home this holiday season.
On November 7, Dearfoams kicked off its national “you buy one, we give one” Dearfoams Gives campaign at RMHC of Central Ohio by baking cookies and donating 2,000 slippers to our residents. Gathering around the fireplace in our lobby, mothers, fathers, grandparents and kids alike grabbed a new pair of slippers and chatted with RG Barry staff about their holiday traditions.
RG Barry’s Chief Marketing Officer Dana Seguin told us that they have long admired RMHC for the compassion and care we provide our residents. Seguin said RG Barry’s customers are eager to shop for a cause this holiday season, and they are excited for its customers to lead this donation campaign to a successful outcome.
Beginning November 13 and lasting through December 25, for each pair of slippers purchased on Dearfoams.com, Dearfoams will donate a pair of slippers – up to 50,000 pairs – to RMHC of Central Ohio. To date, Dearfoams has donated more than 6,300 slippers to our families. Visit Dearfoams.com/gives for more info and to shop for a cause this holiday season.
We could not be more appreciative of or excited by this partnership with RG Barry, as every bit of comfort and support makes a difference for our residents. We hope Dearfoams has a successful giving campaign so our families are provided with a little extra comfort this holiday season. A final tally of slippers donated will be announced during the first week of January.
Thank you for giving back, Dearfoams!