After months and months of hard work, Bobcathon is finally here this weekend! No matter what obstacle they were faced with this last year, the students at Ohio University have not stopped working to raise funds that are critical in helping families at RMHC.
Usually, Bobcats would be joining together in person to dance and raise funds for families at Ronald McDonald House. This year, students will be coming together from wherever they are to walk, bike, run, swim and hike their own 12K to represent the 12 hours that they would typically be dancing for the kids. They know that families at RMHC cannot take a break from their fight, so these students cannot either!
Bobcathon has raised nearly HALF A MILLION dollars for RMHC, but they need your help to reach this milestone by Sunday!
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) youth program, BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) is for youth ages 8-21 years and over the last few years, the group has co-hosted the Celebrity Showdown at the Clark County Cattle Battle with an online auction to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities chapter. This fun event features BEST program members dressing up in costumes along with the cattle they show. Sponsored by The Clark County Cattle Producers, this year’s fundraiser February 1-2 gained $37,000.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is honored to be chosen for the second year by The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association BEST Program for its community service project. The BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) is a youth program of the OCA that recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions. This year, when participants raise at least $100, they’re eligible to enter The Celebrity Showdown, which includes costumed and non-costumed entries in the Champion’s Center at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield. Members of BEST are also encouraged to collect pop tabs that will be donated to RMHC of Central Ohio. The following article, copied from The Pulse, powered by Sullivan Supply, gives more details:
The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and OCA BEST Program are teaming up with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC) for the 2020-21 BEST community service project. RMHC’s mission is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.
Miss Autumn Regula and her doctors, Dr. Maryam Fouladi – Nationwide Children’s and Dr. Lionel Chow – Dayton Children’s will be judging the dress up show this year. Although we can’t have spectators at the show, you can watch it online – thanks to Walton Webcasting, Friday the 29th at 6pm [see promotional video at the end of this article]. Each exhibitor in this special show raises at least $100 for RMHC to participate by dressing up themselves and their calf – it’s a lot of fun, if you have never seen it – be sure to watch Friday!
The online auction is hosted by the Clark County Cattle Producers and Clark County Cattle Battle, and all of the proceeds from this online auction go directly to RMHC. The proceeds from several lots will be going to a special research study, this is denoted on each lot. Proceeds will benefit Connect Consortium, DIPG research being conducted by Autumn Regula’s doctor, Dr. Maryam Fouladi. Dr. Fouladi is a global leader in this very rare form of pediatric brain cancer. Her research team currently has four studies that need funding to be able to open and impact children around the globe.
Auction starts Thursday January 28th and closes Monday February 1st, hosted by Breeders World. With over 100 lots, there is something for everyone on the online auction! Take a minute to see all of the wonderful items that have been generously donated by so many great people.
View the auction and place your bids at: www.breedersworld.com/search?auction=584
In a year that many would, perhaps, like to forget, a few bright moments stand out. For our Ronald McDonald House, much of that brightness is the gleam of light shining off the new equipment in our Columbus Crew exercise room. For Columbus, the light comes from the shiny 2020 Major League Soccer Cup that now belongs to The Crew. After the team played its 25th and last season at MAPFRE Stadium, they were able to bring home their second MLS Cup win. That stadium will now be the site of The Crew’s practice facility as the city readies for the opening of the team’s brand new stadium downtown this coming summer.
It’s a great comeback from a major league sports franchise that almost left the city a few years back. A campaign by Crew fans to keep the Crew in Columbus worked. So it seems the Crew players & community have the same perseverance as many of our families. This year has been especially challenging. COVID-19 almost canceling the soccer season. The team managed to get a 9-1-3 record, and tough-out major injuries on some players in September & October, but winning only once in seven games. Then, when the playoffs started, eight players tested positive for COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the Columbus Crew organization was committed to making sure our families stayed as healthy as possible while staying at the House. It had been 5 years since the workout room had originally been decked out in black & gold by The Crew and supplied with new equipment. This past week’s $10,000 renovation was made possible by The Crew, MLS Works (Major League Soccer’s social responsibility platform, & Major League Soccer itself with an assist from MLS community partner, AT&T. Our own craftsmen volunteers were happy to put muscle into the assembly of much of the new equipment just before the revealing of the renewed room.
The reimagined space had a mini-celebration last Thursday – the eve of the eve of the MLS Cup game – with former MLS Cup Champion and MLS Great Frankie Hejduk, along with Crew Cat (Crew SC’s club mascot), onsite to surprise two families staying at our House. The special moment also featured virtual greetings by Crew stars Gyasi Zardes in addition to the team’s Chief Business Officer and EVP, Steve Lyons and a lunch provides by MLS Works for all families in the House. It was a fun celebration for the two families who were able to see the new improved exercise room first, even if none of the players could be there.
It was announced later that day that two more players – a couple of the team’s best – had tested positive for COVID-19 and wouldn’t be able to be in the MLS Cup. And yet, last Saturday, with all those odds against the Crew, they pulled out a 3-0 win over Seattle, the current MLS Cup holders. Before leaving the celebration, Hejduk promised a couple of families that he would bring the cup here to the House! We’re not sure if he was joking, but our families have sunglasses ready to see the sunshine reflected off that cup in person!
We love our farming families and their communities. McKalynne Helmke was one of the 4-H members who sold her steer at last year’s amazing Ohio State – College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Charity Steer Show. But her support didn’t stop after the steer show was over. She’s continued to get the support of local businesses in Tuscarawas County and major support from Sarchione Ford Of Waynesburg in her drive to get food for families that need to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus.
Every school year, students at Ohio University organize a dance marathon called Bobcathon to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Every year many students in this organization go above and beyond to raise awareness about our mission while raising funds throughout the year so our House can continue to house families that need to be near their children in Columbus hospitals.
But Andrew Connolly is different. He seems to have taken fundraising for Bobcathon to a new level. Ten of his last 12 posts on Instagram were about Bobcathon. “Bobcathon to me is a truly life-changing experience, and an organization that I am so grateful to be a part of,” Connolly told the The Connecticut Post, a daily newspaper located in Bridgeport, Connecticut near his hometown of Shelton. “We work to support the amazing children, families, volunteers and staff of the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio,” Connolly added. “I have learned more — not only about the House and its work, but also about who I am, and where my passions lie.” Connolly, who is director of Ronald McDonald House Activities for Bobcathon, talked to the paper in hopes of inspiring folks in the area where he grew up, to donate to Bobcathon to benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. He’s more than half way toward his personal goal of reaching $1,250.
When a creative team comes along and offers to donate its talents toward helping Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, we really appreciate it because we know the work it takes to turn an idea into something spectacular. That’s just what Pixel Park did this past week when the fruits of their efforts resulted in the birth of what we believe will be the new faces of our pop tab program: The dynamic duo of Fred & Murray, superhero kids who are now the inspiration for our pop tab drive. Pixel Park has been a supporter of RMHC for a few years now, with donations and volunteers in the House. This latest donation solidifies a beautiful relationship with this creative company.
“Pop Tab Heroes is a heartfelt story of two inseparable brothers who become separated… and their journey back to one another. This piece has been a labor of love of ours here in the studio, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating its release today (and maybe even start collecting tons of pop tabs alongside us!) Let’s make something ordinary, extraordinary.” – Pixel Park
In addition to creating these lovable characters, Pixel Park has launched a campaign for folks to encourage pop tab donations to RMHC, with a goal of getting a mountain of a million tabs to the House!
“We are in this together.” That phrase has become a call to action across the community. For us at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Ohio, it means going the extra mile to provide a safe environment for the families we serve. Heading into our fifth month of the living thru a pandemic, the Ronald McDonald House continues to be a refuge for families with a child in the hospital.
Feeding our guests was a top priority when news of the Pandemic began. Typically, thousands of volunteers provide both the food supplies and people power to create meals for our guests. Our team was unsure how we would source and afford fresh and healthy foods. But like our inspirational guests, we don’t give up too easily. We decided to be proactive and grow healthy food! The photos at the bottom of the page are of the Ronald McDonald House garden which was planted by staff and a few volunteer gardening experts.
Regardless of the pandemic, young people still have existing medical and mental health needs. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (RMCM) has been working in partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to continue to provide access to much needed primary care. The Care Mobile serves as the medical home for many children and has an obligation to continue to provide the highest level of care possible. Our team of medical professionals on the RMCM helped divert patients with no covid-19 related symptoms, but still needing medical services, from urgent cares and emergency rooms.
In addition, we were training and preparing for our September 15 opening of the new Ronald McDonald Family Room (RMFR) in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This new Family Room will provide support for those dealing with childhood mental health challenges, the only facility of its kind in the US. Hospital staff encourage breaks from the hospital floor for the wellbeing of family members. Physical wellbeing; feeling refreshed and recharged. Psychological and emotional wellbeing; feeling less stressed. The Family Room allows family members to switch from the role of providers of care to recipients of care. This experience provides respite from the stress and challenges of their circumstances.
This unique RMFR will also provide the opportunity to find relief from worries and stress related to financial pressures. Families that use this space will generally save $37 a day on average in meals, laundry and travel. They can also shower, store some food in a fridge, have a nap, prepare food and drinks, do some laundry, spend time with their family, talk openly about their feelings, or be alone in a relaxing homelike environment.
Young people have an extraordinary need in Central Ohio and across the country for more behavioral health services and research to help children and adolescents. The Ronald McDonald Family Room is located within the walls of a unique facility dedicated exclusively to child and adolescent behavioral and mental health issues on a pediatric medical campus. The facility features inpatient services, intensive outpatient services, a Psychiatric Crisis Department and research all under one roof.
Family centered care is a priority and the Ronald McDonald Family room will offer respite to families who have children being seen in all these areas. Family-centered care is a priority. Outdoor courtyards, a sanctuary and the Ronald McDonald Family Room offer respite to families. Family-centered care is a priority. Outdoor courtyards, a sanctuary and the Ronald McDonald Family Room offer respite to families. This integrated pediatric behavioral health approach serves as a model for other health care systems across the nation. We are extremely proud to offer this much-needed service to children and families in Central Ohio and beyond.
I want to personally thank each and every one of you who has stepped up to support the services that we provide at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. If you would like to learn more about how you can support our mission, please visit RMHC-CentralOhio.org or feel free to contact me or someone on our team directly. We truly are better together.
If you would like to make a donation to support families at the House: https://rmhc-centralohio.org/donation-form/
With deepest care,
CEO and Executive Director
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
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.
When Jeff Heimberger was very young, he almost drowned. The co-owner/operator of Coffee Connections in Central Ohio is the living embodiment of a medical miracle. As his mom, Alice, described in a letter to her son about those terrifying days years ago, it was a “great contrast between trauma and calm.” The calm came from the support Jeff’s family received from staying at a Ronald McDonald House. Jeff shared the letter with us and we’ve highlighted some excerpts from the letter here.
In the letter, she describes the start of that fateful day. “Picture about 70 people at a church picnic. Lots of good food, followed by laughing, talking, kids and teens having great fun in the pool. Later on, “Time for lemonade & ice cream” and everyone headed across the yard. Well, all but the 3-year-old boy who, unseen by the others, fell into the water.” That little boy, was Jeff. As Jeff’s mom described it, the teens at the party ran back to the pool after quickly finishing the ice cream and one tossed a quarter into the deep end of the pool, challenging the others to find it. Jeff’s 13-year-old brother, Paul, outran the others and dove in. Instead of the quarter, he found his brother’s lifeless body at the bottom of the pool.
“[Your] father, a nurse anesthetist with considerable experience in high stress situations, and another medical professional were right there. They did CPR, noting there was no response of pupils to a flashlight. This was really bad. Daddy hoped for intubation supplies in the ambulance. Oh, no. Adult-sized only. He felt helpless, stunned, & scared,” she wrote about Jeff’s dad, Dale, frantically trying to save his son.
Jeff was taken by ambulance to a local hospital in northeast Ohio, then flown by helicopter to Akron Children’s Hospital where he was put on a ventilator while in a coma. Leaving Jeff’s brother Paul & sister Janelle with family, his mom & dad drove to be with their son. Alice says, upon arrival, she and Dale were told Jeff “might not make it through the night and also that young children who do survive a drowning usually have little or no long-term damage or else severe physical and mental impairment. It was a harrowing night. For the siblings, thoughts of the day and not knowing what was happening to their brother were intensified by separation from their parents.”
Alice writes about waiting for hours for brief times of standing at Jeff’s bedside and watching him hooked-up to tubes to keep him alive. She describes the staff, monitors, beeping/flashing equipment and other kids in the ICU in life-threatening conditions as being overwhelming. She goes on to say, “Then, back to the waiting room, in close proximity to the number of others experiencing and expressing details of their grief and trauma. Hours of clock-watching and overhearing the telling and retelling of nightmares all too real.”
Fortunately, the next morning, young Jeff came out of his coma and was moved out of ICU to a regular room. “At that point, Ronald McDonald House became home for dad, mom, brother, & sister for several days until discharge,” Jeff’s mom wrote. “What a sigh of relief: a place to gather the family from their scattering and to begin healing from the shattering scare. It provided privacy and a calming atmosphere. Ahh. A shower, beds, space, home-prepared food, non-intrusive but very caring support from volunteers.”
She tells her son in the letter that one of the setbacks he was having during the recovery was very unnerving. “…at first you fell down whenever you tried to walk and asked the same question over & over. Having been warned of possible impairments, this was very troubling. I went from Ronald McDonald House at 3 a.m. to ask nurses to check your medicine side effects that were listed under Dilaudid, which you received because of seizures in the helicopter due to brain swelling. It’s good just knowing there are Ronald McDonald Houses for those difficult situations, those needing ready accessibility to hospitals, financial help, family stability, ability to be supportive to their patient and in communication with medical personnel as directly as possible, etc. They are also beneficial to the folks who participate as community helpers – a sense of purpose, an outlet for kindness, through practical service to others…”
The happy ending to this story, of course, is that Jeff was released from the hospital and had none of the lingering affects forewarned to his parents by doctors that are so common after a near drowning. Thanks to Jeff for sharing this miraculous story as written to him by his mom for this special Mother’s Day post.