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By Erika Thomason
Our little adventure started April 16th at 6:27am and 6:29am when our little precious babies entered the world very eager at 26 weeks gestation. Our son, Reid weighed 2lbs 3.5 ounces and our daughter, Raelyn weighed 1lb 15 ounces at birth.
We had many visitors that first week of our twins’ lives and sometimes too many to fit in my recovery room. We were very fortunate to have access to the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital to allow some of our guests to hang out, grab some coffee and give others time to visit.
Our kids continued to grow and reach so many milestones. While most children are born with the ability to suck, swallow, and eat on their own, we have had the opportunity to watch our kids fight for breath with a furrowed concentration that was immediately followed by relief, as they taught themselves to do something that the rest of us take for granted. Not many parents are fortunate enough to watch their children achieve these types of milestones.
Our children were born 14 weeks early, which means we have had a long journey ahead of us here at the Riverside Hospital. The Ronald McDonald Family Room has been such a blessing for so many reasons during our daily visits to the hospital. I pack my lunch most days and the Family Room allows me to store my food in the fridge. They provide snacks and water everyday and during my long hours at the hospital (usually 9:30am to 10pm) I am in desperate need for little snacks. The room has also allowed me to get away from all the beeps of the hospital room, to take a break, to sit down in some comfy chairs and just give my mind a break.
The volunteers have really become friends and I look forward to seeing who is working that day or afternoon. They are all so friendly and welcoming and so helpful. Recently, my son got to come home and I bring him to the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the hospital for lunch and the ladies are soooo happy to see him and always offer help to cooking my food for me, holding my baby and I just enjoy their company so much throughout the visits.
The Family Room has offered some fun things for the moms of the NICU and High Risk such as a Thirty-One Gifts party that gave some great goodies for the mothers. The room has offered free beauty nights with volunteers coming in to style hair.
Another piece that we love about the room is Pizza Night for the NICU families. It’s a meeting that takes place twice a month for NICU parents to get together, share what is going on, a place to lean on one another or to have many laughs. My husband and I have made good friends throughout these nights and we are always looking forward to that next Wednesday.
Our journey in the NICU is hopefully coming to an end as my daughter is eating more and more consistently. We have been here for 86 days. The nurses have been absolutely amazing to our children. We really are so grateful for the opportunity to learn to take care of our children in the NICU as it has really prepared us to be better parents at home.
My husband and I really want to thank Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for everything they provide not only for our families, but for so many other families. They offer laundry, showers, play area for kids, meals and so much more for families at the Ronald McDonald Family Room here at Riverside Methodist Hospital. The volunteer staff is absolutely wonderful and we will cherish all the delightful conversations with the people who keep the room operating to provide families comfort and a chance to feel a bit at home.
By Joel Merrill, Facilities Director
I was asked recently to write a few lines for our blog this Independence Day. It was suggested that maybe I write a little about myself and my work here at the House. A spotlight of Joel Merrill, if you will.
I am not the story. I am just a person who is thankful this July 4th for having this incredible opportunity to utilize my years of maintenance training and my love of the Ronald McDonald House Charities all at the same place.
I consider myself the luckiest guy on the planet. I am able to work with the many volunteers and staff members that are here to keep the Ronald McDonald House a wonderful home away from home for the families that have sick and injured children at one of Columbus’ local hospitals. Families from all across America that may be far away from other relatives & friends with whom they might usually be grilling out with or sharing a fireworks show with on this holiday. While there are too many local volunteers to give good credit to here on this blog, they all, without exception, give their time, energy, and experience every time they come in. The volunteers have the biggest hearts and care so very much for the families from across the country and around the world. After all, volunteering is the all-American thing to do.
The volunteers that I am honored to work with the most on a daily bases are people that we call our “craftsmen.” They work on projects mostly that involve making things or making things work again. They build benches, event sets, and toy boxes, among other things. They make repairs to the buildings. They upgrade rooms. They keep the yard mowed and trimmed. They help keep this big House the great temporary home away from home that it is. And we wouldn’t be able to do it all without the help of group volunteers who sign up from time to time to come in and help spruce things up. Groups like workers from the Honda manufacturing facility in Marysville. Or the workers from American Family Insurance that set aside a Saturday last month to come in and help with landscaping and painting rooms, for example. We even have a Deloitte Day every year when so many of those folks get to leave their computers at the office and come in to get their hands dirty. That’s what America is all about.
I have been involved with the Ronald McDonald House in some way for about 10 years now and have never lost the awe of just how the volunteers can do what they do.
I hope that I never become so involved with being a staff member that I lose the “sight’ to see and observe how my fellow staffers and volunteers interact with the families that are our guests. It is just amazing to me to see the joy in the children’s faces when Mel sits with them and just talks. Or to see the love that Dottie puts into every room that she “restocks” for a new guest. Or how warm Courtney is with the guests. Those are just a few examples of the “Heart” that is the Ronald McDonald House.
Take a little time to reflect, during the 4th of July holiday, on how wonderful heart -warming the Ronald McDonald House is and how much of an all-American welcoming, positive “vibe” there is here. If you haven’t had a chance to see inside the House, yourself, we invite you to call and set up a tour. Listen to the interactions. Observe the love, the compassion, and the caring that is spread by all.
I do not know how anyone can spend 5 minutes here and not fall in love with everything/reason that the Ronald McDonald House is here.
By Kirby Boes
June 19, 2018
Hi, I’m Kirby! I’m from Worthington, Ohio and will be a senior at Miami University in the fall where I am double majoring in Strategic Communications and Psychology. Today is my first day interning at the RMHC Marketing & Communications department and I could not be more thrilled to be here!
This is the story of how I ended up here at the Ronald McDonald House for my 2018 Summer internship.
In the spring of my senior year of high school at Columbus School for Girls back in 2015, I needed to fulfill our senior “May Program” graduation requirement in which we were to individually find any company, business, or organization to intern/shadow at for the month of May leading up to graduation. After taking time to think about what I wanted to get out of this experience I realized I wanted to intern somewhere that was a good cause and made a positive impact in our community. So, I ended up at the Ronald McDonald house working in the Donor Relations department, where I assisted in planning the RMHC Golf Tournament fundraiser, along with several other fundraising events. I truly could not have asked for a better experience! Over the past few years since this experience, I’ve never forgotten how much I enjoyed my time at the Ronald McDonald House, which is why it was the first place to come to mind when searching for communications/marketing related internships this summer before my senior year of college!
After reaching out to RMHC Senior Director of Communications and Facilities, Ryan Wilkins, about a summer internship he immediately welcomed me back on board, which is why I am sitting here today writing this blog post on my first day of this great internship at the RMHC Department of Marketing & Communications.
So far, I have been here only 4 hours and have never felt so welcomed anywhere in my life. Ryan and the other members of this department have all gone out of their way to welcome me into the RMHC team. I can tell they truly care about my growth and success here at RMHC and that is such a wonderful feeling.
Today was focused on goal setting, where I outlined what I hope to get out of this internship as well as what I would like to work on during my time here. This was to help Ryan understand what I would like to accomplish, however it turned out to help me in a number of ways too by giving me the chance to really think about what I want to gain through this experience, what I would truly like to focus on, and how I can play an active role in the RMHC community. Additionally, this goal setting activity made me feel wanted and appreciated by the RMHC staff, demonstrating that they are actually happy to have me on board and that they value my time here as much as I do.
Today was an outstanding first day and I cannot wait to learn more about RMHC, communications & marketing, nonprofits, and myself during this time at RMHC. I’m very happy to be here!
By Melissa Ransom, Family Services Manager
Three years ago I joined this great organization, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. What an absolute joy and honor it has been to have a window into the amazing community that surrounds and supports this home away from home for so many. Each year, I’m honored to help this House provide rest for thousands of families that find themselves in such extremely difficult circumstances. As a Family Services Manager, I feel fortunate to be able to be there for folks who just need a helping hand in the form of a bed to sleep in, a homemade meal to eat, or just escape from the hospital to enjoy a bit of normalcy.
A big part of my job serves as that first contact for the families as they arrive here at the RMHC of Central Ohio and go through the check-in process and then again at the end of their stay as they are able to be discharged to go home. This is such a unique experience as each Family Service Manager is able to hear a bit of the story of each individual family and their experience with their stay at the house. On one such evening about a month ago as I was checking out a very grateful family, the mother began to pour out her thankfulness to me and explain how this House was such an absolute stress reliever and answer to her prayers! With tears in her eyes she communicated her gratefulness, as she lived in a very rural area in Michigan and was not familiar with big city life at all. She was very overwhelmed at the thought of traveling to a big city and then to arrive here and be greeted by this home away from home – one in walking distance to the hospital where her son was being treated – was beyond her expectations! Over and over she thanked me as we completed the check out and she walked of my office leaving a huge smile on my face.
There are so many stories similar to this and yet there are such heavy and hard ones as well. In some instances, the family comes back from the hospital where they’ve received difficult news that any parent or grandparent would struggle to comprehend. In those instances, we’re here just to give a hug or to sit and cry with the family as we do our best to comfort them with all the empathy and concern we can give. Overall, its all the amazing stories of triumph and brave children and all the positive outcomes that make serving in the position so gratifying. Having this role allows us to be eyewitness to the strength of families and allows us to feel fortunate to help provide an amazing service to so many that just need someone to take the time to help them when they need a little extra support during a tough situation far from home.
That also means we’re in a wonderful position, as Family Services Managers, to also see firsthand, how the greater Columbus community comes together in so many ways to work toward a single, common goal of supporting those who’ve been thrust into our midst because of an ill child. It’s one of the greatest joys anyone can experience and I am blessed to be able to do that on a daily basis here at the Ronald McDonald House.
If you’ve ever worked at a place where you have the opportunity to read the comment cards or feedback posts from your employer’s customers or clients, you probably have seen your share of disgruntled remarks. After all, even the best-run businesses aren’t perfect. When a family comes to check in here at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, they’re given a checkout sheet so those staying in the House know what their responsibilities are when they are given the good news that their patient has been discharged and it’s time to prepare to go back home. These responsibilities include emptying the waste baskets in the room, pulling the linens off the beds and piling them up, doing a simple cleaning of the bathroom, and making sure surfaces are cleaned. When that’s all done, the checkout sheet instructs the family to come to the front desk to checkout. That’s where they are directed to a Family Service Manager who wraps up the checkout process for them, including taking the completed form from the parent before wishing them well on their journey home. On the back of that check-off list is a survey that we ask a member of the exiting family to complete and a comment section where the guest can leave some thoughts. As you can imagine, except for a very rare few over several months, the responses are always very positive. Usually, the guest struggles to put into words just how grateful they are for having been able to stay at the House, so close to their child. Here’s just a recent sampling of some of those comments from various guests over just the last week:
“All child illnesses of course are serious to families, but we met folks in the RM House who had huge & heart breaking stories. The feeling of everyone being in this together I think is a help to many. Thank you!”
“Just a thank you for the amazing resource you have provided our family through the years! I cannot tell enough people to send their donations to the RMDH!! We are so incredibly grateful for the service you provide to the families-including ours! Thank you!!”
“We had a wonderful stay! Everything was great and I couldn’t ask for more. This is so convenient for us with hospital appointments and is truly appreciated. We felt at home away from home.”
“We loved it.”
“Very helpful to a family that wouldn’t have been able to stay if it wasn’t for Ronald McDonald House. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
“We love the Ronald McDonald House!”
“I cannot thank you enough.”
“My daughter always looks forward to making banners with Fran. Thank you for all the extra activities.”
“As always, thank you!”
“We appreciate the hospitality & know it would be more difficult getting to & from appointments and affording the lengthy stay since we are from out of state. Thank you!!”
“We found out at the last minute that our pilot could not fly us out on Friday and had to scramble to find a way home. Our last day here was supposed to be Friday but I explained our situation and you guys let us stay one more day. Thank you so much, that helped a lot and we were able to get a commercial flight home. We cannot thank you all enough for everything. It was one less thing that we had to worry about and that means everything.” (Many patients and their families come to Ronald McDonald House from across the country. Some special needs ambulatory patients who have scheduled medical treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, use charitable air transportation services donated by owners of private planes and private pilots so they can get to and from Columbus. But sometimes bad weather can force smaller planes to be grounded until the weather clears up.)
“We really appreciate someplace in walking distance of the hospital.”
“Everything was well beyond expectations. Staff was amazing.”
“We really appreciate everything that everyone did to make sure we felt comfortable and at home; it really is one less stress for every parent.”
“We had a wonderful experience and am very pleased and grateful for your services.”
“All was perfect.”
“Thank you for all that you do for all of the families who stay here. It is greatly appreciated!!”
Hey all, Anna B. here – I recently graduated from Miami University and landed my dream job working for the Ronald McDonald House! Throughout high school and college, I pictured myself in just about every career aside from this one. I simply never considered it an option to work somewhere I’ve come to know and love. The Ronald McDonald House always just seemed like a fun place to spend an evening baking for the families or stopping by to drop off pop tabs. I never thought I could actually work here. That is, until I sat down with my soon to be boss (shout out to you, Jamie Fotlz!) about a year and a half ago to hear about what she does for a living. She opened my eyes to the world of fundraising and development – specifically, the role of planning fun and unique events to achieve the mission of an organization. It was that day that I decided I wanted to start building a career at RMHC and join the team of people who “keep families close”!
My earliest memory in the Ronald McDonald House was back in 2009. I was in seventh grade, and my friends and I came into drop off pop tabs. My mom’s trunk was full of them! It was the start of summer, and after a full school year devoted to taking every single pop tab off of the Gatorade cans at lunch. It cracks me up every time I tell someone from middle school that I work here. They immediately bring up the memory of my friends and I wearing big janitor gloves digging through the very full (and very gross) trash cans during our study hall. I don’t remember what exactly sparked this kind of devotion to RMHC – but, we loved collecting pop tabs. We came in and got a tour of the House. I was amazed by how much fun and love filled a place that I assumed would be really sad. I am still captivated by the love and joy that fills this home-away-from-home. Its proof that kindness for one another goes a long way.
Now, its 2018 and I am still collecting pop tabs, but I finally get to spend my days here at the Ronald McDonald House full time! I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many amazing staff and volunteers. Jamie had flowers waiting on my desk on my first day, Tom the volunteer invited me to ride on the dolly during lunch on Thursday, and George, the craftsman made me my very own ice cream scoop. Everyone has been more than welcoming my first few days. There has yet to be a dull moment.
I’ve always liked the quote “a house isn’t a home without a family” because it rings so true, especially inside these walls. I owe everyone here a huge thank you for welcoming me into this McFamily!
By Jamie Wintinger
Ella Wintringer is 10 years old and a member of the Skating Club of Western New York in Buffalo, New York. She started on the ice when she was 5 years old and fell in love with the sport. Ella also loves to read, play her flute, practice Tae Kwon Do and play with her new puppy Penelope. She has two brothers; Andrew and Joshua who love watching her figure skate. Ella has skated twice at the New York State Empire Games in Lake Placid, NY on former Olympic ice and in February 2018 placed 3rd in her Freeskate program, qualifying for the 2019 State Games of America.
Ella’s figure skating hasn’t always been easy because of her medical disorders. When Ella was 3 years old she became very sick with motility problems that led to a long journey involving numerous hospitalizations, various hospitals, specialists, tests, procedures, surgeries, medications, etc. that did not make Ella better. In 2013, Ella was referred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Motility Center and we experienced the amazing Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. This past fall, Ella had her lower gastrointestinal tract reconstructed and the House became our home away from home. Ella had repeat motility testing and an intensive colorectal program which required us to be there for two weeks in April. These two very long stays were much easier to get through with the wonderful volunteers at the House supporting us along the way.
Even our short trips for doctor follow ups over the years are just as amazing! The House creates a comfortable environment for friendships to form between suffering children and Ella has always left having made a new friend or enjoyed a new experience. Our family is so thankful for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House. Whenever we return from an appointment, test or surgery in Columbus, Ella laces her skates and glides onto the ice like nothing ever happened. Skating is her passion and provides a place where she can leave all of her medical worries at the rink door. Skating truly heals! Ella is extremely excited to be a part of Skate It Forward and support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio!
We learned about Skate It Forward at Ella’s last two-week stay in Columbus while we were looking at the House’s Facebook page. We saw they shared something from Skate It Forward. We were interested and approached a staff member at the House. We wanted to give back to RMHC because Columbus’ Ronald McDonald House has been so amazing and generous to us over the years! (Ella’s brother has also been a guest there when he had to come for testing to see if he had the same disorders as Ella.)
Skate It Forward presented Ella with the opportunity to skate her Obladi Oblada Freeskate program in their show on Satruday, June 16th! Ella is beyond excited for this incredible opportunity! It is the perfect combination. Skating and giving back to the community are two of her favorite things! She has given back to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Motility Center, locally to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and to Make-A-Wish of WNY, so adding Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio to her give-back projects was absolutely perfect!
We hope to see you at the rink!
Editors Note: If you would like to attend the Skate it Forward event, click here for tickets.
By Kelley Baster
I first started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House when I was a student at Ohio State. I was still figuring out what I wanted to do in terms of a career. When I changed my major (again), my new class schedule left me with some extra time, which I decided to spend volunteering. Little did I know that this would actually answer my career question more than the classwork did.
Seven years later, here I am working as a Family Services Manager. A lot has changed since my volunteer days. My job duties now consist less of laundry and more of checking families into the house, giving them the information they will need while staying with us. The house has also grown significantly. The addition of 40 more guest rooms has allowed us to serve more families, and the Lego room and princess room have provided countless hours of fun for patients and their siblings.
Nonetheless, even as things have changed, many things remain the same. I sometimes see volunteers and families that were at the house when I started, some of whom have even been coming here for years before I started volunteering. And, even more importantly, our purpose here has remained the same: to keep families close and lighten the load that they are carrying. I once overheard a guest here saying that her friends and family back home don’t understand nearly as well as her Ronald McDonald House family did. She said this in a conversation among three families of drastically different backgrounds. The fact that she was focusing on how much they had in common truly stood out to me. She, like many here at the Ronald McDonald House, recognized how much we’re all in this together.
These are things that you can’t experience by working or volunteering just anywhere. That’s why I always tell people this is the first job I’ve had where I don’t look for a new job when I go home after work!
Hi there! My name is Megan Renner. I am a full-time, second shift Family Service Manager here at the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. I work the busy second shift weekdays. I feel so blessed to be able to say that I work for this organization. My journey with the charity started in March of 2016 when I took a tour of the house while considering becoming a volunteer. I fell in love with this big House full of heart. I became a front desk volunteer, interacting with families full of questions and guests who were usually coming in to help the House in one way or another. In July of 2016 I felt fortunate to begin an internship with Family Services and interned until December of 2016 when I graduated from the Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. After graduation I began working at the house part-time as a Family Service manager on the weekends. The hours changed every other weekend. One weekend I worked overnights on Friday and Saturday and on the opposite weekend I worked Saturdays in the morning. I continued working these various part-time hours at the house for a little over a year, and loving the work I was doing every moment because it’s so satisfying knowing the ultimate purpose of my job: taking care of families with an ill child. This past February I was offered a fulltime position and felt that I could not pass it up! Around the same time that I began working part-time, I also became a member of our young professionals group that helps support the house. It is called the Red Shoe Society and throughout the year we put on a number of community events that help raise funds and awareness for the house.
Working at the house is fulfilling on so many levels. When you tell someone you work at Ronald McDonald many are quick to say things like “that must be so hard” or “that must be depressing” but honestly that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is one of the happiest places and I look forward to coming into work every day. Here at the house it’s the little things that have the biggest impact and I am so honored to be a part of it all. Second shift is not an ideal shift that many people would choose to take. That is also one of the busiest shifts in the house especially for check-ins. I like to stay busy so it works really well for me. There is not really an ordinary day in the house, which keeps me on my toes and the job interesting. During second shift I get to interact with the families a lot more than those Family Service Managers might on some of the other shifts. That is by far my favorite part. Every family that is staying here has a child that is either admitted in the hospital or is in town for outpatient appointments. It is interesting hearing where the families are from and every family’s story is different in some way. To be able to help a family even if it is just getting an extra pillow for them, or being an ear for them to vent to is self-fulfilling to me. It also brings me back to reality. My worries or problems seem so small in comparison.
My favorite story from the house is a time that I was behind the front desk. For those that do not know, we have a large plastic tub full of donated Beanie Babies that we sometimes pass out to the kiddos in the house which is located behind the front desk. A child was crying and a little upset that he had to be here. I offered to let him pick out one of the Beanie Babies from the tub. After he picked one out he instantly hugged me, said thank you, and it brought the biggest smile to his face and mine! I knew right then and there this is where I am supposed to be! Going from volunteering, to interning, to working part-time with families and working with other young professionals to support the House, to now working full-time with incredibly resilient children and parents, has touched me beyond words. If you are looking for a way to fulfill a need to help others, consider checking out our volunteer opportunities here: http://rmhc-centralohio.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Your involvement with the Ronald McDonald House may just end up being as fulfilling as mine!
As we approach Mother’s Day 2018, it’s amazing to think about what a mom might consider, “bumps in the road.” Mothers truly have a unique perspective on life. Giving life. Nurturing the life of their child or children. And often being in the driver’s seat of the family’s journey, especially during those formative years. Cheryl Angus has certainly been navigating her family over some rough roads and through some stormy weather. A traveler’s nightmare that would have many of us wiping out if we were behind the wheel.
Cheryl and her girls have been coming to the Ronald McDonald House here in Columbus off and on for more than eight years. Both of her daughters, 12-year-old Logan & 8-year-old Michala, have health issues that have required them to come up from West Virginia to Nationwide Children’s Hospital regularly over those eight years. Cheryl says it started with an emergency room visit after doctors back home were perplexed by what was going on with Michala. At one point, it was thought that Michala might need a bone marrow transplant. Cheryl says Michala started to be fed through total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and then through a nasogastric (NG) tube. Cheryl says, “She ended up being inpatient for three months. It was hard because Logan was at home.” Home being about three-and-a-half hours drive-time away. Cheryl says she and her husband, Mike, would drive back and forth to touch base at home and check on Logan. Then, fortunately, Cheryl’s mom Martha began to drive Logan up from West Virginia on the weekends. At this point, the family did not yet know about The Ronald McDonald House. Cheryl remembers, “So when she brought Logan up we were like, ‘Oh my gosh! What are we going to do?!’ Logan didn’t want to go home because she missed us.” That’s when a nurse recommended putting in a referral to stay at The Ronald McDonald House. Cheryl says it was the answer they looking for to keep Logan close. “So she could come and visit and we could take turns getting sleep because we were absolutely EXHAUSTED.”
“When we first arrived, I was just kind of nervous because we hadn’t slept and didn’t know what to expect,” Cheryl recalls of coming to the House for the first time. “I was just like WOW!” she exclaims of having settled in the house the first night. “Everybody was so kind and nice and anything we needed was here.” And since then, she says seeing volunteers and staff at the house on repeat visits is so very reassuring after being weary from the road. “We have just come to know these familiar faces,” she adds. It’s like seeing a second family. It makes it a lot easier knowing that we have a place like this to come to. It’s stressful enough to drive – to be away from home for four days anyhow – but then to come here and be able to BREATH, you don’t have to worry.”
To emphasize that point, Cheryl brings up a very dark part of this eight-year journey. About half way through it, four years ago, her husband Mike suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep. He didn’t survive the attack. Cheryl was, what many of us might call, a wreck at that point. It’s tough for many of us to think of losing the co-parent, or co-pilot, in the middle of a tough journey. But Cheryl was able to get right back on the road, thanks to the help of her own mother. “My mom has stepped in as my helper. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to juggle all these appointments back and forth.” This day, with both Logan and Michala having visits to the hospital, was a perfect example. “I’ve had to switch back n’ forth today with the girls. Logan had some stuff this morning and Michala this afternoon. So she stayed here with Michala and then I went over there and then we came back and switched. But my mom has been here with me quite a bit.”
But, when Martha can’t travel with the girls, Cheryl says her ‘second family’ here at the House, steps right in with support. Once, last year, when Logan had a major surgery at the hospital, she was discharged, but still having pains. Without a car and without her mom, Cheryl had to bring Logan back to the House, navigating Logan’s wheelchair through the rain. “I cried trying to get her over here,” she remembers. “It was freezing cold outside, I had to put her in a wheelchair and wrap her in a blanket. She cried the whole way over here because it hurt. Every. Bump. Hurt.” And as any parent knows, when your child hurts, you hurt. When Cheryl and Logan came through the front doors at the House, Family Activities Manager Abigail Brummé and Lindsey Beggin, a Volunteer Coordinator at the time, were standing at the front desk and could see both were drenched, in pain, and in need of special love and care. Cheryl says, “We came in and I started crying again and Logan was crying and they just started saying, ‘hey it’s going to be okay’ and they helped us up to the room and got her her in bed… got her settled.” “Just knowing, ‘hey you’re not alone in this.’ That meant the world to me at that time because I felt so alone being here with her. I couldn’t do anything for her. It was like 10 degrees outside. It was awful in the middle of February last year. It was just horrible and I wanted to make her to feel better. As soon as we came through the door, though, support was waiting!”
To the staff and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, this mom, who has been through so many “bumps in the road” with her daughters and her own mom, Cheryl has a message: “What you do – I don’t think you realize what a gift that you’re giving of your time and your energy and how much the people here really appreciate what you’re doing.” Her family’s trek up here may always be a long drive, but Cheryl says, once they arrive at what they consider a second home, The Ronald McDonald House, “there’s never a bump in the road!” She adds, that she hopes the women her daughters see volunteering and working in the house are an inspiration for the girls, should they enter motherhood themselves one day.