Families Express Thoughts On The Expansion of Our House

By Jared Bugay, Intern

As the 40th anniversary of the Ronald McDonald House is nearing, we wanted to hear some family’s thoughts on the new expansion and what they look forward to in it. Tara Germann has been staying at the house on and off for 5 years with her daughter Sofia. The first impression Tara had on the expansion was the extra 80 rooms it is going to provide. She said that she looks forward to the extra space “so more families get the opportunity to stay at the house and fewer families to be put on the waitlist.” She was put on it once before and she says it’s a tense feeling, saying “It causes more anxiety as you wonder whether or not you know where you will be staying.” She points out many don’t even have the funds to pay for a hotel for one night while waiting to come off the list. “Having this safe space is monumental when your child is at the hospital,” she adds.  “Due to being able to come to the house for an hour during the day and take a quick break from the hospital, regroup and go back throughout the day is nice. It also helps us not have wear and tear on the car driving an hour plus away each day back and forth.” I asked her about the expanded kitchens and dining spaces and she said she looks forward to being able to continue to come here and eat throughout the day when she takes a quick break from the hospital environment, “which is a great relief knowing you have a fresh meal daily!” Lastly, I asked what her favorite part of the new expansion will be and she said the 80 rooms, “and more things for her daughter to do as she uses the community rooms a lot for playing games and being able to get her out of the room structure and get her into something else that is not at the hospital, and help distract her.”

Brittany Newman has been staying at the house since June of last year with her daughter Kenzley. Kenzley is currently on another wait list. She’s waiting on a new heart from a matching donor. Her first impression of the new expansion is excitement for families to avoid being on a wait list for a room. She says that she has not been “waitlisted” before, which has allowed her to be with her daughter more than she would be able to if she was put on one. A daily drive from work to Columbus and staying with her daughter until she goes asleep around 11 would make it nearly impossible to see her daughter multiple days in a row. She thinks that the additional rooms will help all families, even ones who she knows personally who have been put on a waitlist before. The idea that they would no longer have that problem is beyond words for Brittany. I asked her about the expanded kitchens and dining spaces and she said she looks forward to being able to use the new personal kitchens with her kids on the weekend to make dinner. The specialty rooms are important to her family as it helps them have an outlet for a normal day so that they are not just sitting in a normal hospital room. She said that their favorite part of the expansion will be “having more green space and open areas as it helps it feel more like home.”