For 16-year-old Laci, her medical journey began with back pain that wouldn’t go away. Then an ankle that didn’t appear broken, but she still felt the pain of a badly damaged ankle. Doctors back home in Huntington, West Virginia recommended Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus to find the cause of her pain. This would become a tough journey in more ways than one. It turned out Laci had a connective tissue disorder and a dysfunction of her central nervous system. With both diagnoses, bumps in the road during the trip to Columbus literally caused pain to flare up along the way. What’s worse, is Laci’s family would find themselves making the trip for weekly appointments. Click the image below to hear more from Laci’s mom, Crystal, and how thankful they are for the Ronald McDonald House.
CONTACT: RYAN WILKINS
Brand new fundraiser, the Dean’s Charity Steer Show, raises over $152,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
COLUMBUS, OHIO – What happens when you take a dedicated group of community leaders, well-known celebrities, 4-H youth, and steers? You get one of the most successful new fundraisers in the history of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences vice president and dean, Cathann A. Kress had an idea. Over a delicious hot dog lunch with Leslie Bumgarner, President of Telhio Credit Union at Cap City Diner, they cooked up the beginning of what became the Dean’s Charity Steer Show. Months of planning and coordination, along with strong fundraising efforts, brought together a stellar team from many different areas of specialty.
Elizabeth Harsh, Executive Director of the Ohio Cattleman’s Association helped recruit some of the most talented Ohio 4-H members in the surrounding counties, all who had been working hard at raising prize steers. Each of the 4-H youth were paired with a well-known celebrity from the community, including Clark Kellogg, Clay Hall, Shelley Meyer, and Dean Kress herself. Each team was responsible to come up with a name, t-shirt design, and most importantly, raise funds to support their steer in the show.
The event itself, which took place at The Ohio State Fair, was a smashing success, filling the bleachers of the Voinovich Center. Attendees were able to visit with the steers, celebrities, and 4-H’ers, while deciding which steer they believed was the winner. The prizes awarded were Best Steer, Showmanship, and People’s Choice. After all was said and done, the event generated a whopping $152,000.
“We are so proud to have been able to partner with such a tremendous group of people for this very special event,” said Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. “We are so impressed with how generous the community was for this event and look forward to another successful event in 2020.”
Plans are in the works for the second annual Dean’s Charity Steer Show to take place on August 4, 2020, once again at The Ohio State Fair. Details will be announced over the next several months, including this year’s celebrities and opportunities for sponsorship. Details will be made available at go.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
We wish to thank the many generous sponsors and donors who made the event such a tremendous success. Those sponsors and donors contributing $1,000 and above include the following:
• The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
• Telhio Credit Union
• Ohio Cattlemen’s Association
• Ohio State Fair
• Heartland Bank
• Nick Epifano
• Scott McComb
• Kress Foundation at the Columbus Foundation
• Ohio Farm Bureau
• Farm Credit Mid-America
• Juan Neves
• United Producers
• City Barbeque
• Mastek Sparkman Family Foundation
• Michael, Julie and Connor Erwin
• Juan Navas
• Mike and Leslie Bumgarner
• Fayette Veterinary Hospital
• Robert Steele
• Bill Shaffer
• CFAES Meat Sciences Program
• Gibbs Farms LLC
• Bob and Pat Wise
• Ohio Pork Council
• Ohio Poultry Council
• Todd Alexander
• Leeds Farm
• Price Farms Organics
• Catherine Clark
• Dave Sanders
• Mark Berven
• Stephen Rasmussen
• Bonnie Sutherly
• David Benfield
• Mike Estadt
• Highland County Veterinary Hospital LLC
• Lynchburg Veterinary Clinic LLC
• Virgil & Lee Hamilton
• Kim Davis Insurance Agency
• Deborah Trager
• Peterson Farms
• Susa Sherer
• Greg Trimble
• Richard Theaker
• Tim and Karen Corcoran
• Putnam County Cattlemen’s Association
• Miami Valley Feed & Grain Co. Anonymous
• Wise Show Cattle Lynne Wise
• NRC Farm In Memory of Noah Cox
• AMW Cattleman’s Association
• Hastings Mutual Insurance
How did you do with those single-digit temperatures this morning? As cold as you felt – even after getting back indoors – you can imagine it’s hard to keep warm while hooked up to an IV or PICC line with cool fluids. Some of our young guests even have to travel back and forth from the hospital with those attached.
Meg Smith of Virginia had a son, Gavin, who had trouble staying warm while battling a rare disease for 12 years. When he turned 6, Meg came up with the idea to make warm, fuzzy ponchos for kids who got cold easily because of these kind of line attachments. Wearing robes, sweaters, and jackets while inside is cumbersome and impractical with these lines attached to your body. Yet, these kind of ponchos are are easier for children with chronic illness who frequent hospitals often or for many months at a time.
Megan & Matt Kilan of Norfolk, Nebraska suddenly found themselves making the trip to Columbus where one of their twin baby boys would be undergoing treatment for lung issues in November of last year. As the couple come upon the one year mark of being guests at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, they took a moment to reflect on their experience staying in the House in a video interview. You can watch the interview by clicking the image below.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, we’re fortunate to have the support of many organizations in the Central Ohio area. One of the comments we often get from folks who participate with groups that come to the House is how much they gain by being here. Meal groups participating in our Team Cuisine program learn new cooking tips. Cleaning groups pick up household tricks for removing tough stains. Some volunteer groups learn tips about making simple household repairs from our team of volunteer craftsmen. Beyond those more obvious gains, there’s also the reminder and appreciation for what you have and just the satisfaction of giving your time. Sharing the love just feels good to the one who is sharing. But the benefits of working at the House can have even more of an impact for special needs students who regularly come to help our House.
For these students, learning even more about life at the House helps them to grow to become their full potential. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities in a program called Summer Youth Work Experiences where students get real-world work experience as they help to keep our House in tip-top shape. OOD recently produced a video which follow the work of Max, one of the students that benefits from working at the Ronald McDonald House. You can watch the video here:
Sometimes, the special needs students who come to the House also leave a positive impression on our families and their child patient. Be the One is a program that was started at Walnut Ridge High School by Dawn Heideman, a teacher in the Columbus City School District, after witnessing the impact of tragedy on a student’s life. Dawn decided that she would be the one individual to provide comfort, guidance, and encouragement to students who had experienced traumatic anger, depression, & loss in hopes that those students will be the one person to go on to make a difference in another young person’s life too. The program expanded two years ago to Linden-McKinley High School and now helps 125 students who have been through traumatic life experiences at a young age.
Several times a year, Dawn brings her students here to the Ronald McDonald House to meet families of seriously ill children and to spread joy by hanging seasonal decorations in our large dining room. Last year, her students met with a patient named Orian from Maryland staying at the House. The students and Orian developed a bond after learning that he had been bullied because of his disabilities. Inspired by the Six Word Memoir project, Be the One students were encouraged to write a book of their own experiences for Orian who has been encouraged by the book every day. Read about the Be the One’s gift of the group’s book to Orian in a blog from Six Word Memoirs by clicking here.
It’s the great pumpkin delivery, Charlie Brown! Every year at this time, staff from the Marion Correctional Institution make the hour-long drive down to our Ronald McDonald House to drop off pumpkins. Today, they donated 100 pumpkins. We allow our families to take them home, if they wish, when they check out. Sometimes, they even decorate them before they go. If there are enough, sometime volunteers & staff are also welcome to take a pumpkin home. The idea for donating the pumpkins, grown by inmates at the facility, was the idea of an instructor who taught farming to the inmates. Click the image below to watch a short video about this 15th annual donation.
My name is Alison Wachtman and I’ve recently been hired on to staff here at Ronald McDonald House as an Events Management Assistant. In my role, I manage all of the auctions across our special events while cultivating new relationships with donors and fostering our existing relationships. I began my time at RMHC this past May as an Events Management Intern. As an intern, I worked closely on the 33rd Annual Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic, which raises around over $300,000 each year for the House! This was the largest event I had ever worked on, and it was truly incredible to see our team pull something of such grandeur together so seamlessly. I am extremely excited to be a part of all of our various events in the future and see how each one uniquely comes together.
I am currently a senior studying Logistics at Ohio State University—Go Bucks! You can often see me cheering on my school in the student section at the Shoe! When I’m not rooting on the buckeyes, I love to rock climb—specifically a form of harness free rock climbing called Bouldering. I’ve been climbing for a couple of years now, and I find that it pushes me to work past my fears as I attempt newer and more challenging routes. I am also in multiple sand volleyball leagues all year round, and I’m gearing up for indoor sand volleyball to start soon! Some of my closest friends play with me, which makes the game even more enjoyable.
In the past, I’ve had experiences volunteering with numerous organizations and international work, and giving in these ways has always been a passion of mine. Now, every day when I wake up and come into work I know that my job impacts a mission that is so much greater than myself. Seeing families around the House and watching events raise funds to make their stay more comfortable during such a difficult time is what I hold on to and what makes this job so special.
“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.
Columbus, OH (SEPT 25, 2019) – In just 10 days in August, 163,000 people cast 4.4 Million votes in support of their favorite causes. As a result, 40 communities, in 21 states, including Ohio, will be getting an assist from State Farm. State Farm is proud to announce the Top 40 vote-getting causes that will each receive a $25,000 grant to improve their communities.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. Non-profits affiliated with each of the top 40 causes receive grants to address them.
Through this support from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio will have the ability to provide nearly 1,250 nights of rest to families. As one of only four charities in the state receiving money through this 2019 grant program, RMHC of Central Ohio will use these funds to help make up the difference between donations offered by families who stay at the House and the actual cost to accommodate them, in a program called “Helping Hands.”
Families are asked to contribute $20 per night; however, no family is ever turned away due to inability to pay. The actual cost to provide our services is $100 per room, per night. The average amount collected from families in 2018 was $6.99 per night due to their mounting medical bills and other financial issues. In an effort to support our families and alleviate stresses induced by their child’s illness we have established the Helping Hands Program. The Helping Hands Program helps close the gap between what families are able to donate and what it actually costs by making up the difference through a temporarily restricted fund. Funds will be released from the account according to the amount of partial paid nights and “no pay” nights for families.
“Early mornings and long days in a hospital are tiring and stressful on a family with a seriously-ill child, adding the long travel time increases this stress,” said Andrea Biada, Major Gift Officer at RMHC of Central Ohio. “For these families, staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their child is receiving treatment is a necessity.”
“State Farm is here to help life go right in neighborhoods all across the country,” said Allison Bertsche, Public Affairs Director at State Farm. “We look forward to seeing the impact these Neighborhood Assist grants will have in these 40 communities.”
Two thousand cause submissions were accepted in June at www.neighborhoodassist.com. The State Farm Review Committee selected the Top 200 finalists and public voting determined the Top 40. In the eight years of the program, more than 300 causes have received a total of $8 million to enact change in their communities. For a complete list of this year’s top 40 causes, please visit: www.neighborhoodassist.com.
I am currently a student at The Ohio State University and just recently started here as a Public Relations and Communications Intern at the Ronald McDonald House and oh what a great experience it’s been already! Growing up in Columbus, the House was a place I frequently heard about and saw often living fairly close to the hospital. My younger sister has been very involved in the youth program at the church I grew up in and The Ronald McDonald House is a place in which they volunteered at often. With that being said, I have always had ties to the House and loved the mission here. This past summer, the company I was currently interning for partnered with The Ronald McDonald House on Food Truck Fridays. This is where I met Ryan Wilkins the Senior Director of Communications and Facilities. I expressed my interest in helping out at the House and looking back I am so glad I did. I began the internship a few weeks ago and I can honestly say from the second I stepped foot in the House I knew I’d be happy here. Knowing my work will really impact the lives of others is an amazing feeling and definitely unique to the industry I’m in. Not to mention, the staff here adds the experience, everyone is so kind and welcoming every single day!
The Ronald McDonald House is here for one reason and that is to help. To help families find a place that feels like home in probably one of the toughest times in their life, when their child is sick. As I begin my projects here, whether it’s marketing an event to our community or communicating with sponsors I know that I am helping one more family find a home in the process. I am extremely grateful that I have been given the opportunity to actively support this mission day in and day out. I look forward to learning more and helping as much as I possibly can.