Six-year-old Parker Call’s family has been coming to the Ronald McDonald House here in Columbus for almost all of his life. Parker had been seen at a hospital in Dayton, where doctors recommended a surgery that could be accomplished sooner at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Parker has been coming to NCH ever since then. Around the House, Parker is well known for his brilliant smile and his cordial wave from his wheelchair. His sister Mallori is the attention-getter. She’s the center of attention wherever she goes in the House, usually bursting with energy and leading the way running several steps ahead of their mom, Eve. And sometimes quiet Wyatt, almost 2, will join them for a stay. The family has endeared themselves to volunteers and staff each time times they’ve stayed in the House.
Since 2014, Eve says she and her kids have seen Nationwide Children’s Hospital expand to include 2 new towers, and have also seen our House grow from the 88 rooms to our current 137 rooms. Coming to our House, Eve says, “I really didn’t know what to expect.” Since then, Eve says she and her kids have really come to appreciate all we have to offer. She was especially impressed when the commercial kitchen was added for meal groups to serve guests cafeteria-style. Before then, families would have to circle a kitchen island in one of the family kitchens to serve themselves. And, she points out that her family started coming here, “before the princess room existed!” In all seriousness, though, Eve says being able to leave the hospital environment for rest and relaxation is very important. “It’s nice to be able to get a good night’s rest and be able to be energized to keep up with the busy schedule over there.” She adds, “Once they’re admitted, it gets a little crazy… it’s nice to get a full night’s rest and not worry about spending lots of money in a cafeteria and hotels.”
Eve especially wants the unpaid volunteers to know how much she appreciates what they all do for her family during each and every visit. “They’re awesome!” Asked if she would have any advice for any family preparing to come and stay at our House for the first time, Eve responds by saying she would simply tell them to relax, “it’s just like going to a second home and just like having a second family.”