It’s been an exciting month for book-lovers who stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, and we’re not talking about lovers of e-books. Our library has remained pretty much the same for years. But just a few weeks ago, a team of volunteers came in to revamp our library. Over just a few days this during National Library Week AND National Volunteer Week, a team from L Brands including Susan Geier, Carrie Kenneth, Chris Nowicki, Ed Kunzelman; and KP Designs & Associates painted walls and added new built-in cabinets and book cases. You can even literally curl up with a good book within an in-shelf nook!
The week after we reopened the library, 22-year-old Kendal White, a recent graduate from Ohio Dominican University, arrived at the House with a group of friends and supporters to donate books gathered during a recent book drive. White says he’s passionate about literacy and asked his community of friends, family, ODU alumni, & Central State University Columbus alumni to donate children’s books for our library. He hoped to get 200 books, but more than 1,100 were collected, including some books for adults. Thanks to his group of volunteers for sharing the books – along with coloring activities & games – to support our families. It was a great way to also wrap up National Volunteer Month.
Ohio Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Emmanuel “Manny” Kidd passed away in January of 2015 of brain cancer. Just months earlier, he had served a meal to families at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus with members of the Warrant Officer Candidate School where he was a course manager. The group had leftover funds they had raised to pay for the meal, and decided to use those funds to do a one-year sponsorship of a guest room in memory of Chief Kidd. Every class of candidates since then have re-sponsored that same room in Kidd’s honor. What’s more, the classes over the years had been raising enough money to sponsor the room permanently. On February 28, 2019, a ceremony took place dedicating the room, with Kidd’s name permanently displayed on the door.
Earlier this month, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Post House Creative’s short film, Something’s Missing, received a gold ADDY award for Public Service (Film, Video, & Sound). The short film, which is written, directed, edited, and produced by Post House Creative, tells the story of a family with a seriously ill child in a way that Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio has never done before.
The decision to feature less dialogue was deliberate, in efforts to emphasize the visuals captured on screen. The use of motivated camera movement, negative space, and certain shots, chosen specifically to keep the audience wanting more were effective in creating a worthy advertisement that moved the hearts of the viewers.
In a March first ceremony, the 2019 Columbus ADDYs were awarded by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Columbus and are the first tier of a three-tier, national competition held by the national AAF organization. After winning at the local level here in Columbus, Something’s Missing will go on to compete against other ADDY award winners at the district level. If Something’s Missing wins at the second-tier, it will then vie for a national ADDY.
This year’s Columbus ADDYs were judged by Doug Buchanan, editor in chief of Columbus Business First; Christin Norris, who is Lead Experience Designer at Digitas Chicago; Camron Gnass, a professor in the Advertising Department at Michigan State University and was named one of ten most influential people in Mid-Michigan under the age of 35; and Jan Mullins, an award-winning writer, producer and freelance director based in Atlanta, GA.
Congratulations to the team at Post House Creative on winning this esteemed award.
Could You Imagine?
If something went missing from your home, would you notice?
For families with a sick child, something does go missing.
That something is stability. Security. Time. Each other.
Some mornings, it is quiet – the kind of quiet only empty houses can be. Some mornings, the toast is left uneaten and the sleepy ones must find their way to the car and begin a drive they’ve done time and time again. Some mornings, the coffee isn’t enough to make the journey bearable, the smiles are forced, and the difficulties are as daunting as can be.
The process that you thought you would be going through together, you find yourself apart – supporting your child, taking care of obligations, and doing what you can to keep yourself and your family afloat. But you feel like a fish out of water. You are stretched too thin. There are bills piling up, household cleaning you don’t have the energy to do, and a brave face to be put on.
When a family is split between long commutes to hospitals and keeping up with the responsibilities that life demands, the toll that it takes is severe – emotionally, physically, socially, mentally. At Ronald McDonald House, we are committed to easing up the load that befalls families with sick children.
It has been a long and lonely day and night listening to the soundtrack of a hospital room: medical equipment beeping, sighing, dripping. You and your child’s breathing filling the room. Nurses and doctors entering and exiting, asking how you’re doing, helping your child. Your phone jingles, alerting you of texts from your loved ones saying they’ll be there to “switch shifts” in a few.
You pack up your bag, kiss your child’s forehead, and leave the room. But instead of driving three hours back home, you walk across the street. You check in. Someone hands you a key and joins you as you walk to your room. You enter and set your bag on the bed before falling into it yourself.
After you take a shower, you pay some bills, join in the communal kitchen at lunch time, update your loved ones on Facebook, and return to your room afterwards. You grab your coat, your keys, and your bag. You walk back across the road to the hospital and up to your child’s room. Your family is there. Together.
In our new short film, Something’s Missing, written, directed, edited, and produced by Post House Creative, we wanted to show that when something’s missing, the whole family feels it.
Post House Creative and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio are connected through the married duo of Timothy M. and Kimberly Flaherty, who own Post House Creative and both serve on our Marketing Committee. Tim and Kimberly became involved and fell in love with the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities a few years ago, and Tim remembers that it felt “natural for us to be able to help in the marketing role. Our staff has helped out cooking a couple meals and other charitable things with the House.” Their daughter, Isabelle, plays the sick child in the short film.
While we usually choose to focus on the hope within the realities experienced by the families who stay within the House walls, we took a new and different route this time. Instead of shorter testimonies, we decided to employ advanced story-telling and create a cinematic piece which leaves the viewer haunted.
When planning, Post House Creative asked, what if Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio wasn’t around or a family didn’t know about it?
While the haunting feeling isn’t found through ghosts or post-apocalyptic zombies popping up on your screen, this film demonstrates how harrowing it is to experience what families with sick children go through without having something as critical as a place to stay near the hospital; a place which doesn’t require payment. Without a place to stay, the logistics of taking care of a sick child are scary. When families have access to a place that is close by, they can rest their head on an actual bed, eat warm food, stretch their legs, shower, and form community with others in the House, and the logistics are more manageable.
Tim explains their decision to feature less dialogue was deliberate and to focus on what visual were captured on screen. They used motivated camera movement and certain shots, chosen specifically to keep the audience wanting more and to emphasize actions speak a lot louder than words.
Post House Creative’s vision has allowed us to tell a story of families in need. They created Something’s Missing without compensation, meaning that all cast and crew volunteered their time, energy, and resources to write, direct, edit, and produce the film. We are so grateful for their generosity and continued support of our mission to keep families together. Their quick turnaround when following a tight timeline is another testament to their skill and dedication.
We are forever grateful. Thank you to the volunteer cast of Ryan Forrestal (Dad), Isabelle Flaherty (Sick Child), Ellie Maetzold (Sister), and Melissa Roslovic (Mom). Thank you to Tim and Kimberly Flaherty, writer Scott Baldner, producer Tony Adkins, editor Kirk Mason, Director of Photography John Massarella, and the rest of the Post House Creative team.
You can help us keep families together by visiting RMHC-CentralOhio.org.
Changes are constant at our Ronald McDonald House. New to the House for 2018 is the BakerHostetler rocket elevator. Actually, the elevator has always been in the new wing since the addition was built in 2014. But earlier this year, the elevator transformed into a rocket! Thanks to a generous donation by BakerHostetler in Columbus, our new elevator really takes off. When the partners at the law firm decided they wanted to do something fun for the House, they held a contest among its employees and this was the winning idea. Optic Nerve Art Corporation painted the artwork in our first floor hallway and Blue Jackets indoor tree house, So BakerHostetler had that same created the artwork for our rocket elevator.
Marilyn & Bob Holb like to volunteer their time reading to students at Salem Elementary School in Columbus. About a month ago, Marilyn read the book, “How I Became a Super Hero” to fourth grade students at the school.
The book was written by our House’s frequent guest, 8-year-old Ashton Zari. Ashton was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease around his third birthday and since then, he has spent more than 300 nights at the Ronald McDonald House. Ashton says he decided to “write a book to make people in the hospital feel better”. He also says he wanted to encourage people to understand the power of kindness.
After finishing reading the book to those 4th graders, the Holbs informed the children that all of the profit raised by the book is donated to The Ronald McDonald House. This inspired the children to do a little writing of their own. They decided to write greeting cards to Ashton to thank him for writing the book and for helping the Ronald McDonald House. They also wanted to let him know the book was uplifting for them too. Marilyn & Bob delivered the cards to Ashton while he was staying at the House recently, and we were able to listen in as Ashton read a few of the cards aloud to his mom, Amanda, sister Addison, and brother Alex while sitting in the Ronald McDonald House dining room. Click the links below to hear Ashton read a few of the cards.
Ashton just celebrated his ninth birthday on December 20th while staying at our Ronald McDonald House and shared the celebration by giving to other kids staying with us . Happy belated birthday, Ashton! For more about Asthon, visit Ashtonsbirthdaywish.org, or you can purchase “How I Became A Super Hero” directly at Ashtonsbirthdaywish.bigcartel.com.
When Columbus-based national retailer RG Barry decided to help families during the winter holidays, it was immediately clear that Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Ohio was the perfect partner. RG Barry is best known for its cozy slipper line, Dearfoams, and we are eager to partner with them to bring extra comfort to our families staying at their home away from home this holiday season.
On November 7, Dearfoams kicked off its national “you buy one, we give one” Dearfoams Gives campaign at RMHC of Central Ohio by baking cookies and donating 2,000 slippers to our residents. Gathering around the fireplace in our lobby, mothers, fathers, grandparents and kids alike grabbed a new pair of slippers and chatted with RG Barry staff about their holiday traditions.
RG Barry’s Chief Marketing Officer Dana Seguin told us that they have long admired RMHC for the compassion and care we provide our residents. Seguin said RG Barry’s customers are eager to shop for a cause this holiday season, and they are excited for its customers to lead this donation campaign to a successful outcome.
Beginning November 13 and lasting through December 25, for each pair of slippers purchased on Dearfoams.com, Dearfoams will donate a pair of slippers – up to 50,000 pairs – to RMHC of Central Ohio. To date, Dearfoams has donated more than 6,300 slippers to our families. Visit Dearfoams.com/gives for more info and to shop for a cause this holiday season.
We could not be more appreciative of or excited by this partnership with RG Barry, as every bit of comfort and support makes a difference for our residents. We hope Dearfoams has a successful giving campaign so our families are provided with a little extra comfort this holiday season. A final tally of slippers donated will be announced during the first week of January.
Thank you for giving back, Dearfoams!
When news broke yesterday that Urban Meyer would be retiring, many in the Ronald McDonald House community wondered what that might mean for all of the support that he and his family provide for the families that use our services. The Meyers have been very involved with our Ronald McDonald House. Whether it’s been Coach Meyer appearing at our annual golf tournament dinner, coming to visit with families, or he and wife Shelley providing the big play room in the House, the Meyer’s involvement with RMHC of Central Ohio has been unwavering.
“One of my favorite memories while staying at the House was being able to meet Urban the day of the Urban Meyer room dedication,” said Gretchen Jolliff in a Facebook comment. She and her husband Kevin spent nearly 2 years at the House as their son, Cayden, received treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Dee Anders, CEO of RMHC of Central Ohio, told NBC4’s Ted Hart, “Hopefully, he’ll stay involved with the house” and in a comment on Facebook said, “Coach and Shelly words can not express our gratitude. You have made life so much better for many families in central Ohio. Hoping to see you even more at the RMH. Buckeyes forever!”
See the NBC4 news report which focused on the Meyer’s involvement with our House here:
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!
Room #204 here at The Ronald McDonald House was rededicated Monday in honor of National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Emmanuel “Manny” Kidd. Members of the Ohio Army National Guard Warrant Officer Candidate School raise funds every year to continue sponsorship of the room in memory of Chief Kidd. Kidd was part of a group from the National Guard that had come to the House to make a meal in 2014. He died of cancer in 2015 and, that same year, the warrant corp sponsored a guest room here at Ronald McDonald House in honor of Kidd. The room is about $1,200 short of being sponsored by the group permanently, so during the re-dedication ceremony, Major General John C. Harris, Jr. – the highest ranking officer in the Ohio National Guard – announced he was pledging to contribute that amount to make sure the room is permanently dedicated to Chief Kidd. Thanks to members of the 147th RTI and Major General Harris for supporting this initiative. Click below to see pictures from the re-dedication ceremony and hear why Harris wanted to personally help make sure the room would always be dedicated to Kidd.