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. Tim & Kim 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!
When news broke yesterday that Urban Meyer would be retiring, many in the Ronald McDonald House community wondered what that might mean for all of the support that he and his family provide for the families that use our services. The Meyers have been very involved with our Ronald McDonald House. Whether it’s been Coach Meyer appearing at our annual golf tournament dinner, coming to visit with families, or he and wife Shelley providing the big play room in the House, the Meyer’s involvement with RMHC of Central Ohio has been unwavering.
“One of my favorite memories while staying at the House was being able to meet Urban the day of the Urban Meyer room dedication,” said Gretchen Jolliff in a Facebook comment. She and her husband Kevin spent nearly 2 years at the House as their son, Cayden, received treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Dee Anders, CEO of RMHC of Central Ohio, told NBC4’s Ted Hart, “Hopefully, he’ll stay involved with the house” and in a comment on Facebook said, “Coach and Shelly words can not express our gratitude. You have made life so much better for many families in central Ohio. Hoping to see you even more at the RMH. Buckeyes forever!”
See the NBC4 news report which focused on the Meyer’s involvement with our House here:
Yesterday was a global day of giving known as #GivingTuesday. If you follow Ronald McDonald House Charities on any social networks, you probably saw our charity joining the chorus of requests for donations. We thank you so much for all of your contributions yesterday, and throughout the year. Without you, we would not be able to keep the doors open on the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. You know all of the money you donate to RMHC of Central Ohio goes directly toward keeping families close to their children when those children are getting medical attention in a Columbus hospital. These families come from all over the planet so some of the best doctors in the world can care for their little patients.
One such family allowed us to take pictures of them and use those pictures in our #GivingTuesday campaign. Ana, Gustavo and their daughters Marta & María are from Castellón, a city in eastern Spain. Two years ago, four-year-old Marta began to have epileptic seizures. What started as only epileptic seizures evolved, in the following months, to a cognitive, speech, sight, and motor impairment. After many doctors, innumerable tests and several hospitals, Marta was diagnosed in April of last year with a neurodegenerative genetic disease that has no cure. Marta’s dad, Gustavo explains, “Being genetic, we also had to test María, our youngest daughter, resulting in the same diagnosis. It was devastating. The world came upon us … But a ray of hope appeared in the same visit of María’s diagnosis. Our doctor had found a clinical trial for our daughters’ disease at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Our “JOURNEY TO HOPE” began.”
Gustavo and Ana started sending all the tests and documentation that they requested. And, finally, in March of this year the couple was told that the family could come to Columbus to undergo selection testing. “After two weeks of evaluation, they informed us that Marta was selected, but that María, due to a series of medical incompatibilities, wasn’t eligible,” Gustavo says. “In these moments we had mixed feelings, joy for Marta and disappointment and sadness for María. But we did not lose hope that María would also enter. The doctors proposed an alternative to the FDA for our young daughter and after six months, of many nerves and uncertainty, they answered positively.” He exclaimed, “Maria was also inside!!” Now, for two years, every three months, the family travels from Spain to the U.S. “We do not know the result of this treatment, but we hope to save our daughters’ lives,” Gustavo adds.
The family has stayed at our Ronald McDonald House three times. On two of those occasions, they stayed for two months. “We would like you to know that this house is not a hotel or a common hostel. It is something more… something special. You feel welcomed, comfortable and safe, something very important when you are with your children,” Gustavo says.
When asked what he would like the donors and volunteers who support the charity to know, Gustavo finishes with this: “Our most sincere thanks! At heart, there are no words to express all the good you do. Like us, here live many families with very, very difficult situations that tell stories of overcoming, courage and above all of hope. And that hope we keep, to a large extent, thanks to you. Being in a situation like ours, far from the family and our country, without this house we would have made everything much more difficult. To feel so many people who care about us without knowing us is a blessing. Many thanks!!”
When a child’s life is spent in and out of hospitals, the presence of family can make a world of difference. Togetherness for these families is nothing short of precious, but it’s not as simple as just being there. The best thing parents can provide is not just their physical presence, but stability and resolve in the face of hardship – which under the circumstances can be taxing to provide.
Stacy Woelfel, mother to 4-year-old Caroline Woelfel, knows this better than most. Along with her husband Kyle, Stacy makes the trek from their rural home to the hospital at least once a month so that their young daughter Caroline can receive routine medical care.
Born with a hole in her heart, 4-year-old Caroline suffers from several underlying conditions including chronic fatigue, autonomic dysfunction and the need for leg braces. As such, life never been quite normal for the Woelfels. Stacy and Kyle must be the rock Caroline needs, a task that is infinitely easier when they can be fully present for their daughter in mind, body and spirit. “We’re going through a lot,” said Stacy, “but we also have a lot of support.”
Much of this support has come in the form of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®), an organization devoted to helping families like the Woelfels stay together and get the resources they need to cope and thrive. More than just a refuge, RMHC gave the Woelfels a place to stay, decompress and find solace near their daughter between those long trips to the hospital and back. It is a base they can return to without worrying about the logistics.
“Ronald McDonald House® is here so we can have our base, and be with our child,” Stacy said. “We have the freedom to come when we need to. It’s so important. Caroline will never be alone in this. Never.”
Support from charitable causes like RMHC helps to alleviate some of the intense emotional and financial toll families like the Woelfels experience. By providing housing and spaces near hospitalized children and covering the expenses of staying together in distant cities, RMHC provides critical stability and resources to those in need. Its impact is felt keenly every day by patients and their families — and made possible through the generosity of its donors.
Sick children need great care, without a doubt. But their families need it too, and it is this holistic notion of care for the whole family that RMHC has embedded into its mission.
In fact, an international survey of 530 hospital leaders with Ronald McDonald House program affiliations found that most leaders believed that caring for the whole family contributes to better outcomes for pediatric patients. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to get this care through better sleep, reduced feelings of isolation and assistance with food and transportation.
Ronald McDonald House Charities, which operates in more than 64 countries and regions with over 360 local Ronald McDonald House programs, delivers on this promise every day. Along with its other core programs, RMHC saved families over $880 million in out-of-pocket lodging and meal expenses in 2017 alone.
For families like the Woelfels, support from RMHC manifests as much more than a monetary savings. “Caroline calls [the House] her ‘safe place’ where she knows she won’t be poked and prodded,” Stacy said. “The staff gives her high-fives and encouragement as we head to the hospital. And then she comes back and tells them how she was so brave.”
The Woelfels don’t take time together for granted, and neither do the Jolivards, another family that has received support from RMHC.
When doctors told Daniel Jolivard’s parents he needed a bone marrow transplant, he was put on hospice care immediately. After his transplant, Daniel’s father Junior took him to his appointments, hours from their home, while his mother Rachel stayed back and worked, unable to be present for her son.
“We were soon introduced to the Ronald McDonald House just across the street from the hospital where we could all be together on weekends and holidays,” Rachel said. “Despite ongoing struggles or even the roughest of days, when we are with each other, there’s always happiness.”
In addition to its convenience, Ronald McDonald House has become a valuable support network, Rachel explained: “The other families in the House have become a part of our own family, giving that much more support for Daniel as he battles back.” RMHC also has given Daniel the opportunity to spend more time with his brother, always a cause for celebration. “Nothing else matters when I see the boys’ smiles and excitement in being together,” Rachel said.
Alongside its Ronald McDonald House programs, RMHC has over 240 Ronald McDonald Family Room® programs: comfortable, functional spaces in hospitals where families can rest and regroup during hospital visits.
Since its start in 1974, RMHC has assisted kids and their families, today with the support of 508,788 volunteers. Its work also extends beyond hospitals to help children in vulnerable communities, where over 50 Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® programs provide medical and dental care.
Daniel and Caroline represent just two of the millions of children and families helped every day by RMHC. But the organization can’t do it alone; their life-changing programs depend on donations large and small which fund these initiatives directly.
On days like Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday and Christmas, times when extra emphasis is placed on generosity and togetherness, donors to Ronald McDonald House Charities can be confident in their impact on real families like the Woelfels and Jolivards. 87 cents of every dollar spent by the global office of RMHC is used to fund RMHC programs in local communities across the globe. 90% of the top children’s hospitals in the world provide access to one or more RMHC programs, which, a strong majority of hospital administrators agree, play a significant role for families.
The combined impact of many small gifts from compassionate donors has brought about tangible returns. “Donors who have supported our stay at the House have given [my family] peace, comfort, joy, courage and strength,” Rachel Jolivard said. “I cannot think of anything more important than being by my son’s side to help him fight, to comfort him and to celebrate those special moments and small victories.”
Whether it’s for Giving Tuesday, the holidays or in memory of a loved one, charitable donations help families stay together in the spirit of the season. What’s more, year-end gifts come with the added bonus of tax savings. Those that give and itemize their donations before December 31 will receive a deduction if eligible come Tax Day 2019.
For Stacy and Caroline Woelfel, RMHC donations represent the hope and happiness shared by families every day, even in the face of great uncertainty. “We don’t know what the future holds,” Stacy said. “To be together now, in this moment, is everything.”
In the end, kids like Caroline and Daniel need many things to battle their illnesses, but the steadfast presence of their families will always top this list. With togetherness, the rest can follow.
Give the gift of togetherness to families in need by donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities today.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA Today Network were not involved in the creation of this content.