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 often get notes of thanks here at the Ronald McDonald House. Those messages are often short notes from mother’s who want to share with us how much they value the gift of togetherness our home provided for their family. We received this message from a mom on Facebook earlier this year. With her permission, we would like to share her note of thanks to you, our supporters, as her son is about to turn 21-years-old. Because without you as our foundation, we couldn’t have been able to provide a temporary home in Columbus for her and her family while her son got better.
Sunday, April 7, was the four year anniversary of my son’s first brain surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He was 16 years old at the time. The proposed treatment plan included one brain surgery, 1-2 days in the PICU, 10-12 days in the neuroscience unit and then go home. My other two children were 12 and 14 at the time and our family resides in Delaware County- 45 minutes away from campus and gas was around $4.53/ gallon. We were already struggling with the transportation costs and medical bills from previous hospital stays.
We planned with the staff and social workers to stay for 14 days but then things got really ugly for my son and plans changed- radically. The short version of this long tale is that we ended up spending 10 days in PICU, 10 days on the neuroscience floor, 59 days in the rehabilitation unit and instead of one brain surgery, my son endured 3 brain surgeries during that time. Many tears shed. Many meals cooked and snacks provided by the house. Your love and support did not change or waiver even though our plans changed weekly and sometimes daily.
There is much more I could say but there are really not enough words to tell you what RMHC of Central Ohio means to us. My son turned 20 last fall. He managed to graduate from high school the summer of 2017. I had him take last year off due to some other medical issues that we needed to manage due to the casualties incurred from the brain surgeries that saved his life. However, I am thrilled to share with you that my son began his college journey this past January at Columbus State Community College. His short-term goal is to graduate with an associate’s degree from the Social and Human Services program at Columbus State. His long term goal is to earn a master’s degree in psychiatry. These dreams would not be possible without the support we received from you.
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:
At about 20 weeks into my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening condition. At 25 weeks, I started experiencing complications and spent several weeks in the hospital. There was a brief period when I was discharged from the hospital. However, the doctors agreed with my husband and I that we did not feel comfortable coming home as we are about an hour from the closest hospital that could help should I experience complications again or, worse yet, should my condition become more severe.
Thankfully, the social worker on my case at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was able to get us a room at your Ronald McDonald House. Unfortunately, we only stayed about a week as I was readmitted back into the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy. Once my daughter was born, we stayed at the House again while she was in the NICU for approximately 2 weeks.
We are so extremely thankful for the Ronald McDonald House. Obviously, I was able to be close to the help I needed should I have needed it, but also because family members were able to be with our 18 month old son and be together as a family during that time.
The Love family from North Carolina has been spotlighted often in our blogs & social media posts. Christin and her mother’s stories allow us to give you, our supporters, some insight into what it’s like to be family that needs and uses the Ronald McDonald House often. This time, we’re featuring Christin Love because she’s also been sharing her stories with school children back home in North Carolina.
A couple of the pictures with this post were taken at Cardinal Charter Academy in Cary, North Carolina where Christin spoke a few months ago. She shared her medical journey with them and told them how much she loves the Ronald McDonald House here in Columbus. As her mother, Michelle, tells us, “She shared with them that she has not been scared to go through all of the test, surgeries, and procedures that she has had because her family has been able to be with her and that could have only have happened because of the Ronald McDonald House.”
As Michelle explains in an email to us, “After hearing Christin’s story, Cardinal Charter Academy wanted to help out the Ronald McDonald House! They decided to support Christin’s RMH not only during this past school year but during the upcoming school year as well. They are doing this by making blankets for the welcome bags and collecting pop tabs for the House. One of Cardinal Charter’s teachers, Ms. Laurie Hohstadt, said that her 4th grade class has shown so much excitement in supporting the Ronald McDonald House that now the entire school is helping support Christin’s home away from home by collecting pop tabs in each classroom and at the front office!”
Thank you, Chirstin, for sharing your story back in your hometown area. Thanks, also, to Ms. Hohstadt and the student’s who send love and support to all of our families at the House. And thanks to all who have donated pop tabs and other items to the students so they can share that support with our families as well.
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.
11-year-old Ella Wintringer is a member of the Skating Club of Western New York in Buffalo, New York who frequently stays with us at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus with her mom, Jamie. This was the second year she participated with ice skating professionals in the annual Skate It Forward show & competition at the Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena. Skate It Forward has raised nearly $100,000 over three years for RMHC! Thank you Ella and to all of the ice skating pros who took part in this year’s show! You can read a blog post about Ella written for us by her mom last year, by clicking here.
We also want to thank all of the skaters & cast members who helped make this year’s show so awesome:
Mollie Quakenbush McGrail
John M. Haferman
Correction: An earlier version of this article showed Ella as raising the total amount of nearly $100,000. Skate It Forward has raised these funds collectively over the past three years, including various other fundraisers throughout the year with hundreds of individuals and teams making contributions. Thank you all and we apologize for the confusion.
The 4th Annual Nationwide Children’s Hospital DISCOVERYx program two weeks ago included our own Chef Blair Arms with a talk titled, Beyond Our Patients: Keeping Families Fed. She was one of 7 presenters selected for the afternoon’s TEDx-inspired event. An email from the hospital to staff said the planning committee was looking for hospital community workers to showcase the sharing of ideas, opportunities, experiences or discoveries and how these have contributed to improving health and wellness at the hospital and beyond. The hospital’s DISCOVERYx event has been enormously popular and some of it’s speakers from previous years have gone on to present at both the Columbus TEDx and National TEDx programs.
The planning committee invited enthusiasts from every discipline or area within the hospital community of employees to apply and selected speakers based on their passion and ability to deliver innovative ideas. A professional coach even helped prepare the selected presenters for their appearance on stage during the live event. Through communication, speakers were expected to share thought-provoking ideas to spark conversation, make connections and inspire others. Chef Blair met that expectation, giving an emotional testimony about why she loves her job of guiding groups of people through the process of making healthy meals for families staying at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. Watch her presentation below.
Ms. Pac Man is back in working order and back in the Ronald McDonald House, thanks to Maker Space Group member Dennis Megarry with some help from a couple of the other members too. You may remember that this group built an arcade game machine just for our House.
Megarry knew we had Ms. Pac Man in storage because it wouldn’t work and took it upon himself to fix her. Last week, he was able to deliver the rebuilt machine just in time for our Father’s Day celebration (see pictures above). We were able to bring Ms. Pac Man and the new RMHC arcade machine into our main dining room for the party.
Megarry was so excited to work on this machine, he described it this way in an email to us: “I am on such a personal high from doing this, I am sad that it is completed. Was a really fun project.. But, you still have 4 more needing repair! 🙂 I will probably wait till end of summer to start the next one, I fund these out-of-pocket so need to build my bank account back up.. lol”
Thanks again to Megarry and his group for making arcade games a fun escape for families staying at our House during such a stressful time.
This will be the second retirement for Connie Sartori. Her first was from her job at Southwest Airlines. Her second “retirement” will be from volunteering at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. Right from the start of her job with Southwest, she began volunteering with groups from Souwest Airlines. She’ll be moving to Florida, now that she’s retired after 25 years of service to our families. We had a chance to talk to her on her last day coming in with the Southwest Airlines meal group Tuesday night. That night, the Southwest Airlines meal group donated a brand-new grill to honor the occasion. Thank you, Southwest Airlines, for continually serving our families meals for a quarter of a century. Watch our talk with Connie in the video below as she was about to leave her last volunteer shift.