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By: Françoise Walusis
Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier in Upper Arlington is proud to partner with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio to raise money for #chocolatesforcharity. Our goal is to do what we can to help support a wonderful organization while providing the community with one of the world’s finest chocolates. In lieu of a big clearance sale after Easter, we have decided to continue to sell our Easter product at regular price and will donate 50% of our proceeds to the RMHC to support keeping families close during the difficult times that they are enduring.
Unlike most Easter chocolate that is filled preservatives and are purchased as a novelty, the chocolates at Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier are hand made in Brussels, Belgium with 100% cacao butter, and contain no artificial flavors or additives. In addition to dark and white chocolate rabbits, eggs and chicks, we have 8 varieties of eggs, each with its own delicious filling. Regardless of the season, these chocolates can be enjoyed by everyone.
As a small business owner, mom and former nurse, choosing the Ronald McDonald House Charities for Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier’s #Chocolatesforcharity fundraiser was an easy decision. Families of sick children already have so many things to worry about and the services offered by RMHC alleviate much of the burden. We would love to welcome you to Madame Delluc Artisan Chocolatier in the Shops on Lane Avenue to sample a few pieces, treat yourself to an experience and help your local charity, The Columbus Ronald McDonald House.
For more information about us, please visit www.francoiseimports.com or on Facebook/Instagram under Francoise Imports. 1643 West Lane Avenue, Upper Arlington, OH 43221.
By: The Cox Family — Jared, Camy, Lauren, Jason & Joshua
In May of 2006, our oldest son, who was then 2 1/2 years old, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was being treated for an eye condition at the time and it was his eye doctor, Dr. Don Bremer, who discovered there was swelling in his brain. Dr. Bremer referred us to Dr. Ed Kosnik, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s, and almost immediately, Dr. Kosnik had our son admitted to the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for a few days later.
We were overwhelmed, to say the least. Our extended family all live out of state and our daughter was 4 years old at the time. We felt we needed to be together as a family during this time but didn’t know how that would work with our young daughter, commuting back and forth from Marysville, and needing to be with our son in the hospital.
One of the nurses in the Neruo department told us we might qualify for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, so we applied and that very same day, we were approved to come stay. Upon check-in, our little daughter was invited to choose a donated homemade fleece blanket for herself and to choose one for her brother in the hospital. She was so excited! We still have these blankets some wonderful volunteer made!
Staying there provided a lot of calm for us in the middle of uncertainty and hard days and nights at the hospital. It enabled my husband and I to trade off sleeping nights at the hospital with our son and sleeping at RMHC with our daughter. We were able to be together as a family; our daughter could play at the House and outside with one of us which gave all of us a little bit of stability during that time. I remember after a particularly long day, it was my turn to stay the night at RMHC with our daughter, and we just snuggled up in one of the small TV rooms and watched TV. Those few hours just sitting on the couch in a room that looked like a living room watching TV helped me relax and feel sort of normal for a few hours.
Our son’s recovery post-surgery was difficult. He couldn’t take medication orally and couldn’t eat. Even favorite foods we suggested to him, he had no interest in. It was Memorial Day and Dr. Kosnik gave us permission to take him out of the hospital in the wheelchair with his IV and bring him across the street to the House for a family picnic outside. One of many volunteer groups had come in that day and made dinner; I don’t remember what the meal was, but homemade cornbread was there, it smelled amazing, and we took a piece outside for our son. He actually showed interest in eating it and ate several pieces! He even showed interest in wanting to play in one of the playrooms, and we felt like a normal family again for a little while. Things went well after that and eventually the time came for us to leave. It was bittersweet for us — we were thrilled to be going home, but we were taking some very precious memories with us. We are grateful to the staff at RMH for providing us with an opportunity to be close to our son and to be together as a family! Our son is now 13 years old, almost 14, and he is healthy!
Over the years since that time, we have volunteered at the house as our schedule has permitted. We know what it’s like to be there and how it feels to be a parent there when your child is at the hospital. We want to bring a little bit of cheer to those who are there, because we know there’s often long days and long nights and a lot of uncertainty. We want to give back, to express our gratitude to those volunteers we never met who made the blankets for our kids, who made dinners every evening and the ones who greeted us every day with a smile. Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who help make this a wonderful substitute home!
The Winers are two of our amazing volunteers that partner together to help us to keep families close everyday at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
#MyWhy for 2
“There is a need in our community, state and even the world for families with many different “backgrounds” who have sick children and need to be close to them. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio along with hospitals in Columbus support this need. I know that I can contribute and help these families at RMHC with some of my skills and efforts. My contributions while small, are needed, wanted and appreciated. I also enjoy the camaraderie of the volunteers and staff working together to reach these goals. I am helping others, while adding value to my life through volunteering.” -Fred, Go-Getter
“Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio takes so much burden off of the shoulders of the families that stay at the House. It is definitely a home away from home for them. So much of our community whether it be individuals or companies, show so much compassion by volunteering or donating in many different ways to RMHC. My path began almost 10 years ago when a staff member introduced me to RMHC. Over these many years, it has provided me with a purpose and realization that there are so many families dealing with issues and that I can make a difference by either just providing a listening year offer some solace when appropriate. On a personal level, you get to know the staff and fellow volunteers who also enrich your life. I truly can’t imagine finding such a sense of satisfaction with any other charity that makes such a difference in the community.” -Jill, Housewarmer
By: Markita Suttle, MD, Division of Critical Care – PICU Nationwide Children’s Hospital
As a physician in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) I get to see and do amazing things! I come to work each and every day to save kid’s lives, and it is hard to imagine a cooler job than that. Some of the sickest children you can imagine show profound resilience and leave our unit with their parents without even a little scratch. Some of those same children do not and those losses never get easier. Their faces stick with you, their parents’ tears never fade. A little over a year ago I cared for a perfectly healthy toddler that had a history of congenital intestinal malformations that was admitted for an elective surgery. There were sadly complications with the surgery and she developed shock and multiple organ failure, ultimately dying in our unit. Her poor mother was devastated and the image of her that night left a long-lasting weight on my heart, so much so that I contacted her around one month later to check in and offer her a follow-up meeting to sit down with her daughter’s doctors and discuss what happened in more detail. Several months later she agreed to come back to the hospital to talk and though I was prepared to discuss the sad and unhappy details of her child’s death, mom spent the majority of our time discussing her experience at The Columbus Ronald McDonald House. Her face lit up when she talked about RMHC! I remember her saying, “No matter how bad things got in the PICU, I always had somewhere to go for even 20 minutes of normal.” She raved about the comfortable atmosphere, the supportive people, and the useful facilities. She commented several times that having a place to do her laundry made her feel like a mom again, because it was hard to be mom when your child is on a ventilator and hooked to machines. My patient’s mother went on to share that because RMHC had meant so much to her family, she has since started a fundraiser to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Her family had begun to collect pop tabs within their home for donation, but word had quickly spread throughout their community and soon after their entire township was contributing pop tabs. Her ultimate plan was to donate all of the pop tabs each year on the little girl’s birthday as a means of honoring her memory, while supporting the charity that supported them during the hardest time in mom’s life. Mom showed me a photo of the tabs (see below) her family had collected to that point in time, but I’m sure their stash has since grown by leaps and bounds since then.
By: Trevor Potulski
mrly (pronounced MAHR-lee) was founded in December 2016 by Abercrombie & Fitch alums, Kyoko Seki and Trevor Potulski, and will be launching this Summer. This Columbus-based toddler brand will cover ages 1-5 with pieces suited for both genders. In an industry filled with bright colors and quirky patterns, mrly stands for high-quality, everyday clothes that allow a kid’s personality to do the talking. All items are made from the finest textiles and manufactured right here in the USA. With each item purchased, mrly will be donating a portion of proceeds to cover one load of laundry for a family in need at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.
Kyoko and I met as colleagues in 2013 at Abercrombie & Fitch. In early 2014, the company restructured and we were both assigned roles on the Hollister team as counterparts in merchandising and design. Over the next few years, we forged a very strong relationship and a deep level of trust in one another. Every triumph and struggle at work finally led us to a conversation in August of 2016 where we discussed our career and life aspirations. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we both wanted the same thing– to start our own business. Finally, after numerous conversations that coincided with the arrival of my newborn daughter, we decided to combine our passion for clothing, experience in fashion retail and love for our children and build a kids clothing brand. One of the first decisions was to pick a name and we ended up choosing mrly which is an acronym for our kids’ names. Soon thereafter, we agreed that we would partner with a local charity that helps kids in need. We discussed a few options but quickly landed on the Columbus Ronald McDonald House because we both felt strongly about the mission and have heard many great things about the organization After visiting the house again this past January, we knew that we had made the right decision and could not be more excited to become more involved in this wonderful charity and community.
Some additional background about the founders:
Trevor was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Euclid High School in 2004. He moved to Columbus in 2004 and received his degree in Marketing from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business in 2008. He now lives in Gahanna with his wife, Lauren, and their two kids, Madden and Leighton.
Kyoko was born in Kagoshima, Japan and moved to Columbus in 1998 when she was fifteen. She graduated from Thomas Worthington High School in 2001 and received her degree in Fashion Design from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2005. She now lives in Columbus with her husband, Keita, and their two kids, Yui and Rin.
By: Maria Slayman
My experience with the Ronald McDonald House is enriched by the connections made with the guests, volunteers and staff of the house. My journey started as a Volunteer in 2012 and now I am working full time as a Family Service Liaison. I am fortunate to be at the house nearly every day to witness how love works. Sharing our hearts and stories shows just how important we can be to each other. Each of us has the ability to help another. We just have to be open to the opportunity and let it happen. Here is an example that was shared with me recently by one of our guests.
Upon checking out of the house, a mother and father shared their story of hometown support. Their daughter is fighting cancer and her community is fighting right along beside her. She hasn’t been able to go to school lately, nor take the school bus. Her classmates have missed her. Seeing their struggle, the bus driver came up with a way that they could support Sara. He placed a box on the dashboard of the bus with a sign collecting money for Sara. He informed the students that any money donated would go to help Sara’s family. On Monday a little girl asked the bus driver how long he would keep the box on the dashboard of the bus. He told her that he would collect until the end of the week on Friday. On Tuesday she got on the bus with a big smile and put $2 in the box. She showed the bus driver her smile with one tooth missing and said that the money she deposited was what she found under her pillow from the tooth fairy overnight. She insisted that the bus driver keep the box available until Friday…she had one more tooth that was loose. She was working hard on getting it loosened in time!
This is just one example of the many ways that the community has supported our guests and the Ronald McDonald House. Big and small, contributing both time, energy and money. Just be open to the possibility of showing you care. It may not be really obvious at first, but even a small kindness goes a long way. A smile can send someone off on their day in a positive way. Each day I am blessed to see the many ways that people help each other. We are so grateful for all of the many contributions made by you and the Central Ohio community.
By: Beth Fleshman
For the past few years, my volunteer experience at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House has been different than most. I have volunteered my time yet never I’ve made a bed, served a meal, or cleaned much of anything. I cut hair. By trade and as a volunteer at RMHC. At first, this sounds like such a minute detail for a family that is staying at the House and I suppose that’s true. But there is something good to be said though about taking a little time out for yourself. I believe that goes for everyone and is part of why I chose this profession in the first place. There are so many instances where a family comes to the Ronald McDonald House in a hurry and doesn’t have time to get a haircut (amongst other lesser essentials) before they have to rush to the hospital. I get new moms that just want a pick-me-up amidst the change to their normal routine. I get siblings of sick kids that need a haircut before rushing back home to school.
That’s why I love the House. They think of the small things.
Of course, a haircut isn’t going to solve any of life’s great problems, but for that half hour, you get to feel like you’re doing something for yourself. You get to just sit and relax and just be a person getting a haircut, in a salon. It’s hard enough to think about venturing into a city that you’re most likely not familiar with, (and not wanting to stray too far away) without wanting to think about finding a place to get a haircut. When there are so many other things going on to keep everyone busy, it’s nice to know that things like this don’t have to be worried about. There are so many things that are taken care of under one roof, which makes the House and its amazing volunteers something truly incredible to experience. The relationships that I’ve built with some of the guests that have stayed here over the past 4 years are immeasurable. I have gotten to talk with some amazing people that are going through some of the toughest times that anyone could face. I can gladly say that I have made friends coast to coast throughout my time as a volunteer.
(The Thirty One Gifts Spa located on the 1st floor of the Columbus Ronald McDonald House)
These people are so encouraging. Their strength is incredible. Their hope is inspiring. Listening to their stories is something I truly see as an honor. I love what I do. I’m very thankful to be involved in the efforts that the Ronald McDonald House has set forth to do what they can to accommodate their guests. If I could encourage you to do anything from this post, it’s to consider volunteering. The work done there is incredible and the time spent there volunteering is valued. The people you meet from the staff to the guests will enhance your life for the better, and in turn, you will be returning the favor.
Don’t forget about the small things.
Beth works at Studio H Salon in Grandview. If you are interested in booking an appointment, please call 614-485-0523 or stop in at 1279 Grandview Ave. Columbus OH 43212 salonstudioh.com
By: Holly Robinson
Where to begin to talk about the Ronald McDonald house and our history is a lot harder than I thought.
We are the Robinson Family and have used Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for 17 years. So in the next few paragraphs, I will be summing up 17 years of our family’s life. Our daughter, Becca, was born 9 weeks premature. We started at the Ronald McDonald House in Akron, Ohio and for the last 10 years we’ve been here in Columbus.
Our experiences in the beginning were more terrifying than they are now. We were told our baby girl probably didn’t have a brain stem, would repeatedly stop breathing which led her to have to be revived more times than I can remember. The NICU was always able to keep us up to date on what was going on and the Ronald McDonald House was always able to be our home and place of comfort.
For the first several months I didn’t ever leave hospital. When it was time for my husband to return to work, he was still able to visit and then sleep at RMHC. RMHC provided a place where we could shower, eat, take naps and sometimes even allow for one of us to get a full night sleep while the other sat with Becca.
Now the Ronald McDonald House takes on a whole new meaning for us. We live about an hour and a half away from the hospital and all of the specialists (including Pulmonology, Neurology, Urology, Nephrology, Behavioral Health, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, and Orthopedics) that we see at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at least once a month. We stay at the House in Columbus, the evening before those days and sometimes the evening after. We usually try to get all of our appointments scheduled for just one day and then sleep at the House so we can save the 3 hour round trip and completely tiring out Becca.
As our way of giving back to what we call our “second” home, we try to volunteer our time and do fundraisers for this great organization because we would be lost without the outpouring love, support, and resources for our family. We cannot say thank you enough times to The Ronald McDonald House.
17 years is a long time to depend on something as important as they are! Just for a quick update on what 17 years of wonderful care at the hospital and RMHC has done for our daughter. She is so successful and in all Honors classes as a High School Junior and attends college as a post-secondary student. She drives, performs in plays, sings, dances, plays and marches in band, is in National Honor Society and many much more! She still has to be seen about once a month and takes about 10 medications a day but she perseveres through it all and can do anything she sets her mind to. Her future plans are to double major in Music Therapy and Special Education when she attends college.Her future wouldn’t be possible with The Ronald McDonald House! We are so blessed and so thankful for this organization.
By: Frances Krumholtz
My time at RMHC so far has been brief, but the experience profound.
Here, in a way I haven’t experienced before, I watch families find each other and find themselves. I see heroic kids fighting battles they never chose. I witness equally heroic parents and siblings support, advocate, and do all of the tough work of caregiving. I catch these families returning to the simple joys of their relationships: sharing a meal, reading a book, or playing with Legos.
I joined the RMHC staff in late October as our Annual Gifts Associate. This means I get to help people invest and make an impact by donating to RMHC. In addition to the incredible volunteer support from our community, donors to RMHC keep our “House with a heart” humming.
Funds raised for seemingly unglamorous needs – cleaning supplies, dinnerware, new bed linens – serve as a catalyst for keeping families close. When donors care for the most essential needs of our guests, we can create extraordinary experiences and the simple comforts of home.
As we enter our 35th anniversary month, I want to celebrate all that the House has accomplished with an eye to the future. Now serving over 4,500 families each year, RMHC continues to function as a haven for our guests facing extraordinary circumstances. Our Friends of the Families have taken a simple but significant step towards providing reliable ongoing support for our families. These folks have set up a recurring monthly donation to the House – the easiest way to care for our families year-round.
To learn more about joining Friends of the Families, click here. Why give $35? You are more powerful than you know, and you have the power to transform our House into a home. Join our family and help keep this “House with a heart” humming.
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.