- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Get Involved
- Ways to Give
- News & Events
By: Mikaela Hunt
In my world, it’s a moment of quiet when there’s no work to be done and I have a few minutes to ponder the possibilities of life, which rarely happens! As a mom of two young kids with no family in town as “support staff” during busy seasons, moments, or for life in general, it’s hard to take a break. Between Taekwondo classes, hockey lessons, Cub Scouts, swim lessons and more, those moments to pause and do something that I want to do have to be stolen. But over the last couple of years, I’ve been realizing that we must joyfully claim those moments for our own physical and mental health. We need to steal them every chance we get! It doesn’t have to be every day, but we need to seek out moments to move and be mindful during the week.
As a small business owner and co-host of The Momcast (which you can find on iTunes), life is busier than it ever was when I worked in TV news. In the last year, that means my health has taken a back seat on the priority list. But at the start of 2017 I made a pledge to change that. I won’t call it a resolution. I’ll call it a goal. My goal is to take breaks that allow me to move and be mindful.
For me, that means starting to swim at a local Y to offset some of the mild osteoarthritis that I have in one knee—way too early. Moving in the water again, feeling like a kid, makes it feel like less of a workout and more of a therapeutic moment. Taking a break. I’ve also started taking some Dance Fusion classes where I know everyone’s fitness level is at a different level, so I can bring the intensity that works for my body and a joy to the movement that hasn’t always been there before when I “workout.” It also means finding activities with my family that get me moving, out into fresh air even on cold Ohio days, like snow tubing. That was a 10,000 plus step day on my Fitbit and we laughed all the way through it!
The MommyMile is another option I’m fitting into this new mindset of taking a break to be mindful and to move more. It happens at Polaris Fashion Place on May 7th and I would love to do the 5K if my knee is up to it, but there’s also a 1 Mile option that works too—all to get moving for the morning and celebrate being a Mom! It also benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, and that’s another reason I love being involved. I’m moving AND mindful of what my race fee goes towards.
Champagne, roses, a jog with hundreds of other moms and some swag don’t make up my normal day. But they will on May 7th. Those stolen moments, moments of joy that I can fully embrace and be healthy within, are perfect for this season of life! Register for MommyMile here.
By: Matt Barnes
Approximately 250 women. All hoping for a chance to win one of 30 designer handbags. And I’m the 30-year-old man standing in the way. It’s a dangerous job but someone has to do it.
I have had the privilege of being the emcee for 4 Handbag Hullabaloo events at 3 different locations and each and every time, I am amazed by the energy and generosity by the people there. The energy makes sense, because Handbag Hullabaloo is so much fun. Each raffle game brings about that bit of suspense, as each and every person hopes and wishes their game board will be the winner. It’s always entertaining to see the winner of the bag celebrate –in fact, one time, I was nearly tackled on stage as one woman hugged me for randomly picking her number!
But it’s the generosity aspect of this event that keeps me coming back. The event space is always packed. The attendees are always happy and joyful. But most of all, they are always ready to give. The money that has been raised through this event in its short time is remarkable and to know that its money makes a real impact on the lives of families who truly need it warms my heart, and I’m sure theirs too.
If you’ve never been to a Handbag Hullabaloo, I hope you will plan on going to one in 2017. If you have already been to one, then I don’t have to convince you to come on back. It is proof that fundraising can truly be FUN.
A list of all of our Handbag Hullabaloo events can be found on our events page.
By Nancy Thulin
I chose to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house because I love being with people. Not only are the guests at the House very pleasant and incredibly thankful for each and every volunteer that steps foot through the door but the staff and other volunteers are too. Every staff member and co-volunteer that I interact with on a daily basis are so fun and positive. The Ronald McDonald House is a very uplifting place to volunteer. Thankfully, the reason I volunteer here is not because my family has had to utilize the House. I volunteer out of thankfulness that we have not had to experience what so many of our guests have or experience some of the situations they have been in. I look forward to my time spent at the House and am a firm believer that you get back much more than you give. I encourage you to come donate your time with me and all of the other fabulous volunteers but you are unable to donate your time, there are so many other ways to give back to aid in the success of this wonderful place. I encourage you to explore these options and make of the most of your experience here.
Pictured above are “Rockstar Volunteers” Nancy and Dawn
For more information about volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, please visit: http://rmhc-centralohio.org/get-involved/volunteer/
By: Carly Damman
Families are a gift. They provide us with love, comfort, support, wisdom, guidance, belonging and joy. The family unit is even more important here at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Families are the reason we do what we do each day. Our goal is to keep families close during a time in life where things don’t seem very joyful or comforting. The Columbus Ronald McDonald House is that place where families can focus on a renewed sense of love and belonging in the midst of heartache and suffering.
Similarly, it’s crucial to find encouragement and support in running through the love of family. Sometimes this family means close friends that become family after miles and miles of training with them. Sometimes, in the case of Brian Konopka’s story, it means real family.
Team RMHC, our Ronald McDonald House charity running team, is gearing up for another great season as members train for a 5k, 10k or half marathon. Brian, Mikey, Jessica and Danielle have decided to make training as part of Team RMHC a family affair. Brian, a longtime Team RMHC member and 5k event organizer convinced his kids, Mikey, Jessica and Danielle, to join him and train for their very first half marathon together.
What is the driving force that keeps them motivated? Love for their sweet Brady. Here is just a snippet of Brian and his family’s story:
“Our lives changed 4 years ago. Our 4 year old Grandson was diagnosed with Leukemia. Quickly we learned as much about the disease and treatments as we could. I am a person of action. I try to take care of others. I could not take the chemo and radiation treatments myself. I told myself that if he could be brave and strong for this, I could surely run a 1/2 marathon. The Ronald McDonald House was there for my family when they needed to be close to Brady. They are there every single day for families who need to be close to their sick child in the hospital..” –Brian Konopka, Team RMHC member
Life’s not always easy. Whether fighting a serious illness or training for a long distance race, the journey includes countless road bumps, moments of heartache and seasons of doubt. However, through it all, the love of family remains.
To learn more about Team RMHC, click here.
By: The Leaders of BobcaThon
Three years ago, a group of students set out on a mission to bring a dance marathon to Ohio University’s campus. Fueled by passion for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and guided by a fearless leader, Carly Damman, those students worked day in and day out to make BobcaThon’s first ever dance marathon a success. Three years later, Bobcats are still dancing through the hours to support this charity every February and stand for those that can’t stand for themselves. Three years later, we are proud to say that we have raised over $60,000 for RMHC and you can help make that number even higher.
A typical dance marathon in the life of a dance marathon starts with an early wake up call. Greeted by morale captains dressed in crazy costumes, dancers are welcomed with open arms to their team of fellow Bobcats that they will stand with for the next twelve hours. Their morning begins with dancing, cheers and chants, family stories and fun entertainment – and the festivities continue throughout the day. Acapella groups, kids fashion shows, flashback 90’s games, and scavenger hunts fill the hours of the day as students bond in their love for the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. And before they know it, it’s 11:30pm. The last thirty minutes of the dance marathon are filled with more stories of hope, inspiring moments, and most importantly, a call to action to stay engaged. The final number of money raised for the year is revealed to all of the students, families, and staff in attendance and total solidarity in this important cause is achieved. It is a moment unlike anything else.
In the last three years, BobcaThon has effected over 1,000 Bobcats, families, and community members in moments like the ones mentioned above. We have raised awareness, funds, and grown love for RMHC on Ohio University’s campus, and there is no slowing us down. This year alone, we are working to surpass our fundraising from the last two years and reach $50,000. If we reach our goal, we will have cumulatively raised over $100,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
Today, we ask you to support us. Support the students at Ohio University that will be standing for twelve hours straight on February 11th. Support the leaders of BobcaThon that have worked all year to create a positive experience. Support the families in their time of need. Support the house that love built.
Starting on Tuesday, January 24th at 7 p.m. and ending on today, January 25th at 7 p.m., BobcaThon will be hosting an effort called “5k in a Day.” In this effort, we will work to raise $5,000 in just 24 hours for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Visit our fundraisering page and click to DONATE HERE!
By: Connie McKinney
When you are expecting, losing all amniotic fluid is the last thing you think will happen before its time. My water broke at 19 weeks (PPROM – preterm premature rupture of membrane) and from that day on, our lives changed in more ways than we could ever imagine. Everything came to a halt and I was immediately put on bed rest at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California. 40 days later, at 24 weeks, we welcomed Bryce Andrew McKinney (B.A.M.) into the world, weighing in at 1lb 3oz on 11/12/15. It was a rocky road in the NICU but they were able to save his life and stabilize Bryce despite the many issues that come along with such a premature birth.
We eventually needed a tracheostomy, G-tube, and hernia repair surgeries so we had to transfer to a hospital that had those facilities. In March, we were transferred to UCLA’s NICU. After Bryce reached 7 months in June, we were moved to the PICU at UCLA. Howver, the PICU environment was not suitable for a preemie like Bryce. They didn’t know how to manage ventilator settings for a baby with BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia – lung disease as result of mechanical ventilation). As a result, Bryce’s condition worsened quickly and UCLA was unable to help.
Thanks to a Facebook group, a fellow mother with a baby with the same lung disease Bryce had informed us of the only BPD unit in the nation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a daunting thought to move an unstable child to a hospital we had never seen, more than 2,000 miles away. We were approved by insurance for transfer on October 28, 2016, and we were able to stabilize him enough for the flight. Nationwide Children’s BPD unit specializes in understanding how to manage kids with this disease. We are now at 42% oxygen and his saturations are in the high 90s to 100. His CO2 levels are normal and we are weaning off medications. In addition to this huge improvement, we are now able to work on developmental aspects that will help him in his future. We’ve celebrated his 1st birthday since coming here, a huge milestone, and he is now 17 lbs and 5 oz!
There are many unsung heroes that have contributed to helping us get to where we are but the one I’d like to highlight with big flashing lights is Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. I’ve always known the charity existed but I never fully understood what they were all about until I came in contact with their services. I’m sure most people never think about when they might need a place like RMHC but it was a major eye opening experience for me to see what they provided me and my family. Moving from California to Ohio with just a carry-on sized bag and leaving your home and job with very little notice, sounds crazy but it was possible for me without a worry because of the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. I have a place to stay, a place to shower and a place to have a meal. A place that truly feels like a home away from home.
The facility here is amazingly stacked with multiple guest rooms, family rooms, entertainment and movie rooms, laundry rooms, a gym and top notch kitchen facilities that are all indicative of the many generous people and organizations out there that have answered the call to the needs of families dealing with very trying times. We are floored by the volunteers that dedicate their time and energy to people they do not know. Whether it be the regular house staff or the countless volunteers (individuals, families, companies and organizations) that sign up to make meals for guests and perform services to give families some respite, or even that person that walks in off the street to drop off their several year collection of soda pop tabs (which I personally witnessed) that help pay for the utilities, they all contribute to making it easier for the family members of so many brave fighters.
We are so grateful for the Ronald McDonald House and words do not do justice the immense need their help fills. It is truly humbling and we feel so much gratitude toward this organization. It is because of RMHC and the people who contribute to it, that we’re able to be by our son’s side 2,000+ miles away from home without worrying about anything but his care. That gift is priceless. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
By: Sue Horn
I have been retired for 1 year now. It took me a few months to settle into a routine and figure out what I wanted to do with my extra time. I had heard many good things about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, so I decided to pursue volunteering here. After interviewing and touring with Meika Hillis, I was eager to become part of the positive energy at the house! I began working as a front desk volunteer and loved it! After a few weeks I decided to try being a “Kitchen Host” and found that I really enjoyed that too. I have been rotating between the two different positions for a few months now and have enjoyed almost every second. This is an amazing place to volunteer! Working closely with the other volunteers, meeting new people and chatting with families that are staying here make it very special. These families all go through some very tough times and it truly makes me realize how very blessed I am in my own life!
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio? Helping families in need? Basketball? The Ohio State University? Coach Thad Matta?
If you like any of these things, you’ll LOVE what we’re about to tell you!
The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge is back and we’re more excited than ever to support Coach Thad Matta and cheer on our Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes. In this challenge, 48 different NCAA Coaches are all competing vigorously for the grand prize of $100,000 awarded to their selected charity. Coach Matta has once again selected Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio as his charity for the year 2017! He has been a supporter of the House for many years and is excited to help keep families close. With your support, we can bring $100,000 back to the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House and make up for last year’s loss to John Beilein of Michigan. We can’t wait for YOU to help us! Vote now through March 11th at www.votecoachmatta.com.
We encourage you to vote every day and urge your family, friends and coworkers to do the same. Voting is so simple and $100,000 can provide 1,000 nights of rest, meals and togetherness for families of seriously ill children!
Raise awareness by using our hashtags #keepingfamiliesclose #cbusRMH #VOTEMATTA #YourVoteMattas
By: Vicki Chappelear
Connections…this is one of my favorite things to watch unfold at the House. We have so many people from diverse backgrounds with seemingly nothing in common…nothing in common, except a child who is in need of medical care.
I have watched families from all over the United States and all over the world come together to offer support for each other. These are families, who never would have met otherwise, come together at the House. Many times there are cultural and language barriers to overcome and yet they do. The strength of these parents is inspiring. The community that is built here is nothing short of amazing. They compare notes, encourage each other through their personal experiences–it’s a connection you only understand if you are walking through it.
I love seeing the camaraderie between the kids. These young people are going through surgeries and procedures that most adults wouldn’t understand and yet, they rally behind each other. I’ve seen hugs given before surgeries, and sympathetic looks showing understanding of the pain they are feeling. I’ve witnessed these unlikely friends from two different countries wear the same necklace with an inspirational message, and then, one friend holding the necklace while the other was undergoing surgery. They have a special bond—they understand the anticipation before and the pain and healing after. These kids are wise beyond their years. These friendships will last forever, all because they had a place to meet and be a kid.
(Pictured are Kathryn and Matthew Newnham from The United Kingdom with their friends, Michelle and Christin Love from North Carolina)
By: The Ladies of Colts Neck
We are one of the many volunteer groups who help prepare hot meals for families who stay in this facility. This group, The Ladies of Colts Neck (and a few faithful ladies from Gahanna) have been actively involved and volunteering at RMHC for about 3 years and find it to be a very rewarding experience.
Here are just some of the reasons we enjoy preparing meals at the Ronald McDonald House: