My daughter, Taylorann, was born with a number of congenital birth defects and diagnosed with a multitude of other VACTERL Association conditions. As naïve first-time parents, her mom Tracy and I could never have imagined the complex journey our little girl was to begin from the moment hospital staff whisked her away shortly after discovering some of the visible birth defects.
It was a prolonged labor but nothing that caused any suspicion by the doctors and nurses that she would arrive into this world with a complex medical condition. Shortly after her birth, once the umbilical cord was cut and she rested on Tracy’s chest, the post-birth prenatal team began their examination.
I still vividly remembers the faces of the prenatal team as they discovered “something” during the exam. They then noticed the cold stare of a father who sensed that “something” was not right, and immediately motioned me over from the side of the delivery bed to explain what they had discovered…and what wasn’t discovered.
The team tried to minimize the issue and explained to me that surgery would be required. A pediatric surgeon was called in to provide further examination and details of what was to follow. Still under the influence of medication and an epidural, Tracy had no idea what was going on only a few feet away from her bed and was only told after Taylorann was taken from the room.
A week after she was born, Taylorann left the PICU and as new parents, we left with additional fears of unanswered questions about her medical condition along with a long list of scheduled doctor appointments and medical tests.
This was the beginning of a journey with parallel pathways; the path of the intense, complex and medically focused life of Taylorann, alongside a long road of little to no understanding from an outside world.
With little guidance and limited information available on her condition, additional congenital defects revealed themselves with each medical exam and surgery. Tracy and I did our own research and pushed hard for answers. We remained vigilant and quickly realized we needed to be our daughter’s advocates. This meant, at times, being bolder with communication to her doctors than we would normally be. Yet in doing so, we grew to love her surgeons, nurses, and care-givers and developed a great relationship with them. What they may have lacked in knowledge about her specific condition, the majority of them made up for it in their care, compassion and continued fight for our daughter.
Her doctors kept her alive, performing surgeries that – years later – were validated by specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as having been done properly. That is not always the case for many kids having surgeries performed at their local hospitals.
As Taylorann grew from a baby, to a toddler, to a little girl, and then to a teenager, and now as a young adult, her medical journey took her to physicians and specialists at multiple hospitals across Ohio. Having landed the majority of her overall care at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in late 2014, Taylorann now has a collaborative team of specialists that continue to manage and maintain her overall medical care.
Living outside of Cleveland, the multiple surgeries, procedures, illnesses and hospital stays at Nationwide Children’s, resulted in a personal introduction to the incredible people and charity of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. It wasn’t as if we weren’t familiar with Ronald McDonald House Charities, but it was the first time we had to be on the receiving end of its care and mission.
Receiving was difficult at first, especially for me. However, with the long days and nights across the street at the hospital, I quickly came to the realization that pride was preventing me from truly receiving the blessing of care that the Ronald McDonald House offered for my family as well as myself.
Over the last six plus years since their our stay, we simply cannot express the gratitude and love we have towards – not just the charity itself – but an affinity to the staff and volunteers as well. In the midst of stress from Taylorann’s hospital stays at Nationwide Children’s over those years, the Ronald McDonald House has become a cornerstone of support, a place of rest, a comfort from hunger, and a pillar of love. That allows Tracy & I the ability to provide the best possible support for Taylorann while she is hospitalized.
Early on, and long before Covid-19, Taylorann’s sisters would stay at the House on weekends while visiting from Cleveland. Her youngest sister Karissa, in the first few years of stay, would spend hours in the Princess Room while her middle sister, Kendall, loved the Blue Jackets Clubhouse stairwell. For those stays during warmer months, both would enjoy the outside play area, especially the water sprinklers. Tracy and I, when not at the hospital, would spend time in the Buckeye Family Room on the third floor catching up on emails, voicemails and other outside responsibilities. Kendall, now a nursing student in college, fondly recalled those Clubhouse play days just last month when she once again came to stay with her sister over a long weekend at the hospital.
Taylorann, having been hospitalized four times in the last eight months during the pandemic certainly has made our stays at the Ronald McDonald House look a little different. Regardless of the changes needed to be made for everyone’s safety, the family will forever be thankful to the staff and volunteers. Covid-19 didn’t stop the need for help, it magnified it. And thus, it became clear that there were indeed personal sacrifices made by the staff in order to provide the services offered to families. The added stress and responsibilities never diminished the care, concern and support provided prior to the pandemic.
The Ronald McDonald House has become an integral part of our family; not just in receiving but also in our continued giving. I fuel my coffee addiction by mainly going to McDonald’s leaving change in the drop box or rounding-up the total, collecting aluminum can tabs, educating family and friends about Ronald McDonald Charities, and donating resources.
And like the Mission of Ronald McDonald Charities, Taylorann desires to help and use her life experiences and her medical history to become an advocate for kids with long-term medical conditions. Although her college education started two years later than most her age, and has been interrupted with the most recent hospital stay, the resilience ingrained from years of challenge will undoubtedly serve her well to accomplish and fulfill that desire.
Until then, she continues her battle and longs to persevere. Even in illness, she encourages, motivates and inspires, not just younger kids with similar conditions, but also adults who have had long-term medical procedures. As for her family, it is of great comfort to know that as her journey continues, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio is steadfast in its mission to provide the home away from home when needed.
He was already a rock climber, a repeller, and a sky diver. Then, about four years ago, Clintonville resident Tom Schneider came across a unicycle at a garage sale. It brought back childhood memories, and for five bucks, he decided to buy it. He had been looking for a new sport that would take all of his concentration and he thought this might just be the challenge he needed. Schneider says its just like riding a two-wheeled bike. You don’t forget. Soon, he was buying a mountain unicycle and a long-distance street unicycle. Now he rides his unicycles not just for fun, but for fundraising. “I’ve done well over a dozen charity rides between 25-50 miles each,” he said.
After seeing a local tv new segment about 15-year-old sidewalk chalk artist, Cecilia Martyna, raising money for the Ronald McDonald House, Tom decided he would do the same.
“On Friday, July 31 I will be riding the Scioto mile 25 times for a total of 25 miles for RMHC. I will be riding from the South parking lot to the party house, back to the South parking lot. I hope you’ll join me by riding with me, too!” Tom says he had heard of the Ronald McDonald House but wasn’t exactly sure what services were provided. “The doctors at Nationwide Children’s saved my grandson’s life. Ian is now 17, and quite the healthy young man,” he said. “I can’t imagine what a parent would go through traveling from out of town…don’t know Columbus, never met the specialist, don’t know where to stay….then there’s the Ronald McDonald House.”
“It will be an honor to ride this one as I have a personal connection to Children’s, and am so very thankful for the staff at RMHC for providing a loving, passionate, caring hand in a crazy time of a families life.”
To learn more about Tom’s ride and how you can support his fundraiser, click here.
Oftentimes, creativity shines brightest during hard days. Recently, 15-year-old chalk artist Cecilia Martyna, a student at Dublin Jerome High School, contacted us to ask if she could draw a picture of Ronald McDonald in front our Ronald McDonald House and we gladly accepted the offer. Friday afternoon, she completed this work facing the Ronald McDonald House on the sidewalk in front of our building in just over three hours. Within the next 24 hours, her artwork had been shared to over 1,000,000 people on social media, and her story was aired on television stations in Columbus and Cleveland. (See the progress of her work below)
By using her talent and taking time to create a special encouraging message like this one, Cecilia warmed the hearts of guests at the Ronald McDonald House, as well as front line workers at the Ronald McDonald House and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Do you have an encouraging message to share with guests of the Ronald McDonald House, or our brave employees at Ronald McDonald House and Nationwide Children’s Hospital? Film a simple selfie video and post it to Facebook. Tag us @RMHCofCentralOhio, and encourage our guests and staff!
Thank you, Cecilia, for your contribution. This is a special gift that we will always hold in our hearts. You are an inspiration to our entire community!
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is committed to the health and well being of our community. Our team is working diligently to address concerns with the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). In an effort to maintain the safety of our community, we have suspended non-essential volunteer groups. In addition, many meal groups have cancelled or rescheduled for a later date. As you know, the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room are completely dependent upon volunteerism to operate.
In these challenging times, we are fortunate to have many people asking how they can help us at RMHC. If you are interested in helping us provide meals to guests of the Ronald McDonald House, please consider making a donation. To learn more about supporting the meal program, called Team Cuisine, please email Katherine.Becker@RMHC-CentralOhio.org. To make a financial donation to support our operations, please visit rmhc-centralohio.org/donation-form/.
In addition, RMHC of Central Ohio has postponed our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Handbag HULLABALOO! Dublin in compliance with Governor DeWine’s Executive Order. We will be working with our event committees to announce the rescheduled dates for those events as they become available.
Please know that we sincerely appreciate the support of our community, and look forward to the day that we can open our doors once again to volunteer groups.
RMHC of Central Ohio
[Columbus, OH] December 17, 2019– Celebrating Easton’s 21st year of giving, the Easton Community Foundation will partner with six community organizations for its 2020 Change for Charity program. With more than 100 applications submitted for consideration, the following six non-profits have been selected and will be featured throughout Easton over a two-month period:
The Easton Community Foundation selects six area nonprofits to highlight throughout the property so that Easton’s 30 million annual visitors are aware of each organization’s mission, community impact, and also how to access their services. In addition, the nonprofits receive a portion of the parking meter and ticket revenue to support their community efforts.
Since its debut, the Easton Community Foundation has provided over $7.5 million in financial support to hundreds of organizations that strengthen the central Ohio community through services and programming in the areas of education, health and social services. Its primary community-focused initiatives – in addition to the Change for Charity program – include Cornerstone Event fundraisers for some of central Ohio’s most respected charities, the Easton Community Foundation Scholarships for area high school students at schools including Mifflin High School, Northland High School, Fort Hayes High School, Gahanna Lincoln High School, Linden-McKinley High School and Columbus Africentric and events and partnerships benefiting the community, and local organizations.
In 2019, Easton hosted events for Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX), Pink Ribbon Girls, Boy Scouts of America, The Columbus Foundation, Buckeye Ranch, Harmony Project, Songs for Sounds and many more.
Easton has also served as a site for Canine Companion service dog training, a Pelotonia pop-up store, Salvation Army bell-ringing, and job and volunteer fairs. While Change for Charity provides a unique opportunity for six select organizations, Easton is dedicated to working with the community and creating accessible opportunities to benefit the many incredible organizations Columbus has to offer all year round.
“It is our goal at Easton to support and recognize organizations that are making a significant impact in our community, and central Ohio as a whole,” said Jennifer Peterson, Chief Executive of Easton. “We are fortunate enough to be able to do so not only through providing financial support but also by helping to raise awareness through unique opportunities here at Easton to educate community members on what important work these organizations do. Whether it’s learning about volunteer experiences available through Besa, helping to build with Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio or being inspired by a youth performance or piece of art created at The King Arts Complex, we are truly honored to be able to connect our guests with these incredible organizations.”
Each partner receives a substantial donation through Easton’s parking meter proceeds along with in-kind marketing and publicity opportunities that reach more than 30 million visitors annually.
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
By Bryant Somerville, WBNS 10TV
There are times we feel complete. Other times, most of us know the feeling of a missing piece.
For Heather Vincent, that piece is normalcy.
“We don’t have normal,” she said. “We don’t know what normal is.”
When her son Jackson was 2-1/2, he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He went through all of his treatments and eventually was cancer-free for about two-and-a-half years until it came back.
“And then we found out in January he relapsed,” she said.
Jackson is now 6. Lately, the Ronald McDonald House has been a second home.
“We were here 51 days,” Vincent said. “We got to go home last week and now we’re back.”
Back to the hospital. Back to the treatments. Back to the lack of normalcy.
But there is a piece of normalcy, as small as it might seem, that Jackson carries with him.
Jackson loves Lego. In the past year, Vincent says he’s built upwards of 40 sets at his house. At the hospital, while doing treatments, he builds.
“Yesterday, we sat and built Legos all through chemo, so we were there for three hours and I don’t think he thought about chemo once,” she said. “He just focused on the Legos and didn’t realize he sat in the bed for three hours. He just was building Legos.”
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center, knowing many children can’t make it to Easton, decided to take the fun to the Ronald McDonald House Thursday.
“Yeah, they bumped up his chemo this morning so he could come back and make it here so he could do Legos,” Vincent said.
It’s a much-deserved distraction.
Maxx Davidson is the master model builder for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus.
“You get to bring some smiles to kids’ faces who might not get to have an opportunity for an event like this all the time,” he said.
An opportunity to be normal.
“It almost takes you back to normal for a little bit,” Vincent said. “Takes you out of the cancer world for a while.”
2018 has been a special year at RMHC of Central Ohio. Because of the endless support of our community, we have been recognized with six different prestigious awards. Ranging from local to global recognition, each of these awards highlights the impact that RMHC of Central Ohio is making each and every day to keep families together while their child is being treated in the hospital. The awards include:
Thank you for all that you do to support our mission!
On October 15, RMHC® (Ronald McDonald House Charities®) Chapters around the world share our mission and grow awareness of our largest on-going fundraiser – RMHC Donation Boxes in McDonald’s® restaurants. On this “Day of Change,” we observe the anniversary of the charity by encouraging you to visit Central Ohio McDonald’s restaurants and drop your spare change in our Donation Boxes. We will also use this day to thank restaurant employees and share how their reminders to customers that their change can support families and children going through a rough time.
The very first Ronald McDonald House® opened in Philadelphia, PA on October 15, 1974. Today, there are over 364 Ronald McDonald Houses and over 237 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms around the world where families with sick children can stay close when they must travel far for their child’s medical care. Our House is the largest among them and we now have our first Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
As our founding mission partner, McDonald’s is committed to using their scale for good, and a great example of this is the impact from Donation Boxes in restaurants around the world. Last year, over $52 Million was donated to RMHC by McDonald’s customers through Donation Boxes alone. This allowed Chapters to provide approximately 650,000 overnight stays to families, as well as provide them meals, comfort and support. Locally, we were able to provide 2,175 overnight stays from more than $174,000 in your spare change that we received in Donation Boxes last year!
Thank you for thinking of our families each time you go up to the counter or go through a drive-thru at a McDonald’s restaurant in Central Ohio and drop your spare change in our donations boxes. Our families are grateful for your consideration.
Eight-year-old Matthew Offers is a big fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. So imagine his surprise when head football coach Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley walked into his room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to visit him this past Saturday. The Offers family is from Licking County and often stays at The Ronald McDonald House here in Columbus. Matthew was born with congenital heart disease and has spent much of his young life in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The family was staying at the House this past weekend when Matthew’s dad got a call on his cell phone from a phone number he recognized as a Dublin area phone number. Matt Offers says he recognized the prefix to the phone number because he’s an employee of Cardinal Health, which is headquartered in Dublin. He thought it was work calling. But it was Coach Meyer asking if he and his wife could make a visit to Matthew in the hospital. WCMH-TV reporter Dan Pearlman came to the House to interview Matt & Heather Offers about the visit. You can watch Pearlman’s report here.