In its first five years, BobcaThon raised nearly $350,000 in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. But for the Ohio University students behind this year-long fundraiser that culminates in a 12-hour dance marathon, it’s the stories of courage and resilience from area residents served by the nonprofit that will echo throughout their lifetimes.
“There are moments of real emotion where we all kind of realize what the impact of this event is and how important all our work is,” said Maggie Wolf, BSC ’20.
An Ohio University senior, Wolf has participated in BobcaThon since her first year at OHIO and is serving as president of this year’s fundraiser, which will come to a close on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the BobcaThon 2020 12-hour dance marathon. The event is the pinnacle moment in a year-long campus- and community-wide quest to raise awareness for children with serious illness and their families as well as funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, which provides free housing, meals and other assistance to families of children in Columbus-area hospitals.
Wolf has seen the impact of the nonprofit’s work firsthand. A couple close to her stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while their son underwent cancer treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Sadly, the boy passed away last summer.
“That’s the connection I really feel now,” said Wolf, adding that stories like these are the reason BobcaThon exists and a big component of the dance marathon, during which families served by the Ronald McDonald House take the stage and share their experiences.
These stories, Wolf said, don’t always have happy endings, but they remind everyone how necessary their efforts are.
“A lot of the time it’s professors or administrators from the University who are telling these stories about their children,” Wolf said. “And even if you might not know the professor, it’s really eye-opening to see that they live right here in the community and are facing such a challenge.”
Coming off a record-setting year in which BobcaThon raised more than $110,000, the BobcaThon 2020 leadership team worked with advisers in the Ohio University Alumni Association to solicit some expert advice on how to sustain the fundraiser’s momentum. They consulted with an individual who has studied dance marathon fundraisers and who advised them, in light of their extraordinary success over the past five years, to focus their efforts more on awareness than dollars raised.
“We shifted our focus to outreach and trying to partner with as many student organizations as possible, so we could set ourselves up better for future fundraising,” Wolf said. “We added new positions to our team, so I think we grew in different aspects than just the dollar amount that everyone sees.”
Wolf said that organizers expect about 370 dancers to participate this year, 55 more than last year. Each BobcaThon participant has been asked to raise at least $100.
For the students who participate in BobcaThon, it’s an opportunity to make an impact on a community that most of them will only call home for a few years and a chance to see the power of their philanthropy in action.
For Wolf, her final BobcaThon will be bittersweet as the fundraiser has not only been a significant part of her OHIO experience, but one she will carry with her after she graduates.
“BobcaThon is what helped me secure my internship and made me passionate about nonprofits going forward,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about how to present myself in a professional way and how to lead my peers, which at first can be kind of awkward. And, being a part of BobcaThon has given me a chance to give back to a community that has given me the best four years.”
The sixth annual BobcaThon kicks off at noon on Feb. 15 in the Baker University Center Ballroom and ends at midnight when this year’s fundraising total will be announced. For information on how you can get involved in and support BobcaThon 2020, visit the BobcaThon Facebook page.
If a fire truck comes to your house as lunch is being made, that might be a bad sign that lunch is burnt. But when the 108th Columbus Fire Recruit Class came to our Ronald McDonald House to make lunch on Wednesday, Aug. 7, the group brought a fire truck too. Not because the students & instructors weren’t confident in their cooking abilities. They brought the truck so after preparing and serving lunch for our families, family members were welcome to go out to the parking area behind the House and learn all about CFD Engine 40.
Patient Forest Winterscheidt’s mom, Kathryn Winterscheidt, both of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma said, “The house is a great home away from home and it’s really fun to have extra things to go above and beyond what to do at your own house.” “It was a real treat for him to see the truck and the flashing lights.” Forest said he thought it was, “Pretty Cool… using the water hose!” Kathryn said he learned, “The truck only fit 6 people so he wasn’t sure how the rest of them got here.”
Abigail Brumme, our Family Activities Manager, said, “We were beyond excited to have the recruits visit the House with the truck! As the Family Activities Manager, I have the honor of working with many groups that bring in exciting opportunities for our families to participate in. This was definitely an opportunity that myself and the families will remember forever. The recruits were incredibly kind and welcoming with our families and made it an extra special experience for them. They made sure that our families were able to tour the truck, use the hose, learn about the equipment and did all of it with a big smile on their face. We are so grateful for this opportunity and the joy it brought to our families. A big thanks to the recruits who made it such a special experience!”
The 108th Columbus Fire recruit class members are working to graduate in next month as state certified firefighters, fire inspectors and emergency medical technicians. Click here to see more pictures from this special day in our Facebook photo album. [All photos courtesy Columbus Division of Fire Public Information Office.]
We’re so honored to announce that yesterday’s inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show raised more than $135,000 to help keep families near their children in Columbus area hospitals. Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, along with Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, hosted this first-ever event benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The show brought together our community to celebrate agriculture and support children and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times.
The steer show included a “sale” following the same procedures as a typical livestock sale, but without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, all buyer sale proceeds are going to benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. The show and sale featured local celebrity exhibitors who partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. The community could also make a donation toward their favorite celebrity’s fundraising page for the event. Thanks to all of the exhibitors, the 4-H families, donors, and steer buyers for making this inaugural show a huge success! Thanks, also, to all who supported and attended the event, especially Ohio Cattlemen Association members and county affiliates, OSU extension offices, the Ohio State Fair, and to auctioneers Ron Kreis, Johnny Regula, Darby Walton and Kevin Wendt.
2019 Dean’s Charity Steer Show Winners:
Best Steer: Clark Kellogg, CBS Sports analyst, with 4-H member Sydney Sanders – Highland County Best Showmanship: Bob Peterson, public servant and eighth-generation Fayette County farmer, with 4-H member Victoria Waits – Fayette County People’s Choice Award: Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau, with 4-H member Sam Sutherly – Miami County.
Remaining Celebrity Exhibitors:
Cathann Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State
University CFAES, with 4-H member Wyatt Osborn – Highland County; Matt Barnes, NBC4 morning anchor, with 4-H member Caroline Winter – Pickaway County; Mark Berven, president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Property & Casualty, with 4-H member Allison Davis – Carroll County; Bobby Carpenter, sports talk host on 97.1 The Fan, with 4-H member Kyle Kardotzke – Erie County; Jay Edwards, Athens County small business owner and real estate investor, with 4-H member Austin Pullins – Athens County; Clay Hall, sports director for ABC 6/FOX 28, with 4-H member Shala Graham – Licking County; Woody Johnson, host of “Woody and the Wake-Up Call” on WCOL-FM 92.3, with 4-H member Lauren Schulte – Putnam County; Rick Malir, chief executive officer and co-founder of City Barbeque, with 4-H member Jocelyn Belleville – Wood County; Bob McElligott, sports broadcaster for the Columbus Blue Jackets, with 4-H member McKalynne Helmke – Tuscarawas County; Shelley Meyer, former first lady of Ohio State football, with 4-H member Taylor Poff – Geauga County.
Watch Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal’s report on the event here:
On Wednesday, July 10, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary with cupcakes for visitors to the room. Families and hospital staff were invited to the family room to take part in the celebration. We invited Trish Wright, president of the Wright Ways Foundation, to the family room. She and her family had used the family room almost exactly a year ago. Trish had given birth to Chosen at the hospital and Chosen had to stay in the NICU for a few months. Her family found the family room to be just what they needed during that time. Chosen and her family came back for our celebration and to help Trish donate care bags for NICU moms on behalf of the Wright’s Way Foundation. Click the image below to hear her story.
You may have seen or heard of a steer auction or livestock sale at a county or state fair, or even attended one, but this one will be a little different. The Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, Cathann A. Kress, together with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Telhio Credit Union, are hosting the first-ever Dean’s Charity Steer Show at this year’s Ohio State Fair benefiting RMHC of Central Ohio.
A website set up for this event by OSU says, “This event brings together our community to celebrate agriculture and support kids and their families that rely on RMHC during difficult times. The show and sale will feature local celebrity exhibitors partnered with a 4-H member and their steer. All funds raised will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Ohio.”
The celebrity exhibitors, including such high-profile members of the community as Dean Kress, CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg, and former “First Lady of OSU Football,” Shelley Meyer are having a friendly competition to raise donations leading up to the July 30 steer show. You can find your favorite celebrity or make a general donation at give.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.
The steer show will be held at 2 p.m. in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center at the Ohio Expo Center during the state fair on July 30. Awards will be given out for best steer, showmanship, and people’s choice. There will be a livestock “sale,” however, without the actual transfer of livestock. Instead, winning bids will go to the RMHC of Central Ohio.
As the Dean’s Charity Steer Show website asks, “Can you imagine what it’s like for a family traveling for childhood medical care? Or if you had to travel for care for your child for two or nine years? RMHC helps miracles thrive.”
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:
Yesterday was a global day of giving known as #GivingTuesday. If you follow Ronald McDonald House Charities on any social networks, you probably saw our charity joining the chorus of requests for donations. We thank you so much for all of your contributions yesterday, and throughout the year. Without you, we would not be able to keep the doors open on the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. You know all of the money you donate to RMHC of Central Ohio goes directly toward keeping families close to their children when those children are getting medical attention in a Columbus hospital. These families come from all over the planet so some of the best doctors in the world can care for their little patients.
One such family allowed us to take pictures of them and use those pictures in our #GivingTuesday campaign. Ana, Gustavo and their daughters Marta & María are from Castellón, a city in eastern Spain. Two years ago, four-year-old Marta began to have epileptic seizures. What started as only epileptic seizures evolved, in the following months, to a cognitive, speech, sight, and motor impairment. After many doctors, innumerable tests and several hospitals, Marta was diagnosed in April of last year with a neurodegenerative genetic disease that has no cure. Marta’s dad, Gustavo explains, “Being genetic, we also had to test María, our youngest daughter, resulting in the same diagnosis. It was devastating. The world came upon us … But a ray of hope appeared in the same visit of María’s diagnosis. Our doctor had found a clinical trial for our daughters’ disease at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Our “JOURNEY TO HOPE” began.”
Gustavo and Ana started sending all the tests and documentation that they requested. And, finally, in March of this year the couple was told that the family could come to Columbus to undergo selection testing. “After two weeks of evaluation, they informed us that Marta was selected, but that María, due to a series of medical incompatibilities, wasn’t eligible,” Gustavo says. “In these moments we had mixed feelings, joy for Marta and disappointment and sadness for María. But we did not lose hope that María would also enter. The doctors proposed an alternative to the FDA for our young daughter and after six months, of many nerves and uncertainty, they answered positively.” He exclaimed, “Maria was also inside!!” Now, for two years, every three months, the family travels from Spain to the U.S. “We do not know the result of this treatment, but we hope to save our daughters’ lives,” Gustavo adds.
The family has stayed at our Ronald McDonald House three times. On two of those occasions, they stayed for two months. “We would like you to know that this house is not a hotel or a common hostel. It is something more… something special. You feel welcomed, comfortable and safe, something very important when you are with your children,” Gustavo says.
When asked what he would like the donors and volunteers who support the charity to know, Gustavo finishes with this: “Our most sincere thanks! At heart, there are no words to express all the good you do. Like us, here live many families with very, very difficult situations that tell stories of overcoming, courage and above all of hope. And that hope we keep, to a large extent, thanks to you. Being in a situation like ours, far from the family and our country, without this house we would have made everything much more difficult. To feel so many people who care about us without knowing us is a blessing. Many thanks!!”
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.
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.
The saying goes, “Families that play together, stay together.” When a child is injured or sick, we say, “My child’s hurting, so I’m hurting.”
Parents know that quality family time helps to build strong relationships among the members of the family. Every year, National Family Day is celebrated on September 26 to celebrate investment in spending time together as a family. When most people think of family, they think of the people who are tied to them by marriage or blood, but the definition of family has evolved over time. These days, anyone who shows deep altruistic love and support for another, may be considered a member of the family. On this day, we’re encouraged to spend time with those we consider to be family by cooking or sharing a meal together, playing a game together, or just taking a moment to connect with one another. The advance of technology allows instant connection through mobile devices with texting and video calls, not to mention social media. So we all like to think we’re tuned in to what’s going on in the lives of our family members all the time. But even with that kind of technology, there’s still a barrier of distance. You can get much more from communication with a loved one, beyond sight and sound, when you’re literally sharing the same space.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House, we know that in-person connection is especially important when a child is sick or injured and is getting medical attention. Research shows having family there when a child is dealing with a health concern can help the patient – and the patient’s medical staff – during a great time of need.* Our family is our support network, and in usual circumstances, simply gathering with family members for quality family time can help lead to positive and healthy choices. Sharing time, whether through meals or activities, has been shown to lower the risk of unresolved family conflict. The benefits of gathering regularly with family can really become evident when a family is suddenly thrown into the midst of a young member’s health crisis. When a child is admitted into a hospital, the bonding that’s developed during past family activities becomes even more important.
So we encourage you to spend some time together with your family members today. Build those relationships within your family. The stronger those relationships, the better the support when it’s really needed.