By Melissa Ransom, Family Services Manager
Three years ago I joined this great organization, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. What an absolute joy and honor it has been to have a window into the amazing community that surrounds and supports this home away from home for so many. Each year, I’m honored to help this House provide rest for thousands of families that find themselves in such extremely difficult circumstances. As a Family Services Manager, I feel fortunate to be able to be there for folks who just need a helping hand in the form of a bed to sleep in, a homemade meal to eat, or just escape from the hospital to enjoy a bit of normalcy.
A big part of my job serves as that first contact for the families as they arrive here at the RMHC of Central Ohio and go through the check-in process and then again at the end of their stay as they are able to be discharged to go home. This is such a unique experience as each Family Service Manager is able to hear a bit of the story of each individual family and their experience with their stay at the house. On one such evening about a month ago as I was checking out a very grateful family, the mother began to pour out her thankfulness to me and explain how this House was such an absolute stress reliever and answer to her prayers! With tears in her eyes she communicated her gratefulness, as she lived in a very rural area in Michigan and was not familiar with big city life at all. She was very overwhelmed at the thought of traveling to a big city and then to arrive here and be greeted by this home away from home – one in walking distance to the hospital where her son was being treated – was beyond her expectations! Over and over she thanked me as we completed the check out and she walked of my office leaving a huge smile on my face.
There are so many stories similar to this and yet there are such heavy and hard ones as well. In some instances, the family comes back from the hospital where they’ve received difficult news that any parent or grandparent would struggle to comprehend. In those instances, we’re here just to give a hug or to sit and cry with the family as we do our best to comfort them with all the empathy and concern we can give. Overall, its all the amazing stories of triumph and brave children and all the positive outcomes that make serving in the position so gratifying. Having this role allows us to be eyewitness to the strength of families and allows us to feel fortunate to help provide an amazing service to so many that just need someone to take the time to help them when they need a little extra support during a tough situation far from home.
That also means we’re in a wonderful position, as Family Services Managers, to also see firsthand, how the greater Columbus community comes together in so many ways to work toward a single, common goal of supporting those who’ve been thrust into our midst because of an ill child. It’s one of the greatest joys anyone can experience and I am blessed to be able to do that on a daily basis here at the Ronald McDonald House.