On April 10th, when Heidi Lethcoe delivered her first child, Braden, she never imagined he’d have complications, especially the magnitude of the one’s he’s fighting now.
At just a day old Braden was diagnosed with ASD (Atrial Septic Defect), VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) and an Interrupted Aortic Arch. Heidi, Braden, and her parents made the trip from Santa Maria, California where they live to Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.
It was then they checked in to the Ronald McDonald House to be near Braden. At just 8 days old Baby Braden underwent a ten hour surgery to repair his tiny heart. Heidi, couldn’t find it in her to leave his PICU (Prenatal Intensive Care Unit) room for more than minutes, so her supportive parents spent much of their time finding refuge at our House.
It was the long days in the PICU that brought Heidi and Ana together. Ana and her family were also staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their son, Hugo, battled a rare blood disorder. The boys beds were right next to each other in the hospital and the two moms found comfort in one another.
“It didn’t matter that Ana and I spoke different languages. We had looks we gave each other. We had a everything is going to be okay look. We had a I’m so sorry look. We had a look that said I understand the pain you’re feeling right now,” said Heidi.
Ana and Heidi soon found comfort in sitting near each other in the dining area of the Ronald McDonald House.
“We honestly didn’t need to talk at all. We just sat quietly near each other in support.”
Baby Hugo had emergency surgery last week, but his small body couldn’t withstand the lengthy operation. Baby Hugo become an angel on Thursday while his family was near him. When Heidi heard the news from a nurse, she remembered feeling like the air escaped her body. She returned back to our House and found a note waiting for her.
The note was from Ana and in Spanish. With help from our Staff, Heidi read the note. It was a letter of thanks, explaining the gift that Heidi’s support was for Ana and inviting her family to the funeral service.
Heidi and her family left Braden’s side for a few hours to attend Hugo’s funeral in Paso Robles.
“Ana and Hugo became a part of our life quickly. Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House become a part of your life quickly. We share something that makes for a deeper friendship than most. It’s like a bond that can’t break.”
Braden is currently still in the hospital and recovering nicely. His medical team thinks he should be home in Santa Maria within the month.
As for Ana and Heidi, they plan to be friends. Always.
I am walking down the hallway, away from the office and toward the family room. This is where the connection of housing wings is made, and where normally I could sit and chat with families to spark a much needed giggle or smile on their face. It is 8:15 in the morning, and as I get closer to the family room, honestly, I am wondering, “Where the heck is everyone?” But then I remind myself of something very important. That is, the Ronald McDonald House strives to provide families stress-free living conveniently close to their child staying in the hospital. What is my point?
Let me take this moment to pause and introduce myself. My name is Sammy and I am the new Marketing Intern here at the Ronald McDonald House. There are still many things that I hope to learn in regards to how the House functions and the impact placed on families staying here. I have been interning here for three weeks now, and am beginning to realize even more what a tremendously positive difference Ronald McDonald House Charities is able to make for families with children in the hospital. Even more important, the House provides children in the hospital with the security and hope that stems from knowing their family is staying so close. The House is able to do this by providing a “home away from home” for its guests to better connect them with their children.
So, now we head back to the family room. In my house, this is the place that normally sees the most chaos and activity—exactly the opposite of what I am observing right now. Sitting here for a moment, it is obvious that the family room would be empty during the day, as families are visiting the children. So while it is rather quiet in the family room, and I have no new families to get to know, I realize something that is rather moving. An empty living room in the House means children in the hospital are receiving a ray of hope as their families visit, providing them with a smile on their face and the comfort that they are not alone in whatever battle they have to conquer.
Ronald McDonald House Charities strongly emphasizes family, allowing mother and son, father and daughter, sister and brother to remain in the strong connection that we as humans need during hard times. Though medical treatment is crucial, it seems that one equally important aspect pushes children even further towards conquering their battle, and this is love. The House allows families to constantly give love to their children without bearing the extra burdens of needing a place to stay, driving way too far each day to see their child, grocery shopping with the distraction of their child’s fight, and so on. Families themselves are provided with much love in knowing that their daily needs are taken care of while they focus on the health of their child. Love for family seems to be the driving force that has allowed Ronald McDonald House Charities to make such an impact over the years.
Families here at the House are provided with more than just a “hotel room” during their stay. In fact, Ronald McDonald House Charities strives to make families feel as comfortable as possible outside of their own home. The focus should be on the children getting better, and the House makes this easier for families to do by providing every essential they would find in their own home as conveniently as possible. The House is able to relieve families of many of the burdens that should be set aside when their child is in the hospital. This further allows families to place more attention towards their child getting better and receiving the proper treatment. You probably already had an understanding of what Ronald McDonald House Charities does, but I wanted to remind you just how impacting the House is for many families.
I have just one last thought before I leave and head back to the office. I would like to draw the attention back to the family room, which I realize is still empty as I sit here. Before I began interning here, I pictured a more hotel-like atmosphere existing within the walls of the building. To my delight, the Ronald McDonald House is much more, and the sight of this large family room made all the difference. The family room, fully furnished and decorated with a touch of love, is the perfect reminder of just how important families are here. For what it all boils down to is this: the children and providing love. Ronald McDonald House Charities brings so much love to children by placing their families so close in a new “home away from home”.
Delivery and pregnancy with our second son went very smoothly. It wasn’t until he was 5 days old that we found out that there was anything to worry about. He was born with a congenital heart defect and we were told that open heart surgery may be in our near future.
At 3 months old his surgery was scheduled to happen the next month, that is when we were introduced to the Ronald McDonald House. We were told since he would be in intensive care for the entirety of his stay that we would not be able to stay the night with him in the hospital, but at the same time we were also told they would put us down to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.
We really didn’t know what that meant but when the time came we went to the house to see what it was all about. Little did we know it would be such an important factor in our experience. Staying at the Ronald McDonald House gave us a sense of security when we had to leave our son’s side at night. We were always just a short walk (or run) away from him and if we needed to be there quickly we could.
This was the most scary and emotional time in our life, we were in a situation that we never thought would happen to us but thankfully the Ronald McDonald house was there for us and made our journey so much less stressful, we had 1 less thing to worry about which was exactly what we needed during that extremely stressful time.
Not only did we thoroughly appreciate the home away from home and close location to our son we also enjoyed talking to other families and organizations that were there cooking meals, it helped us forget for even a few minutes what we were going through. Now that Rocco is home and our live’s our back to normal, we look back with such appreciation for the House that kept us together.
Let me be clear, we never thought we would need the Ronald McDonald House but we are forever grateful it was there when we did.
If you weren’t completely covered in color on April 7th, you missed out! Over 12,000 participants from all over the state gathered at Woodward Park for the most colorful 5k in the world!
Not only was the 2nd Annual Fresno Race fun, it raised needed funds for our families! With over 150 RMHC volunteer pitching in to make sure all the details were covered, and sponsors chiming in to support, the Color Me Rad Team made it happen!
Below, you’ll find some of our favorite moments from the day, but here’s the best news! Thanks to all the participants and volunteers, the race raised $25,000 for our mission! Can you say, “wow?!?!”
Thank you to all that participated in our largest and most profitable tournament ever! With 294 shooters and a net income that went up by $20,000 from the year prior, we are beyond pleased!
If you participated on Saturday, April 20th and can’t wait to find out your scores, use the links below. Or CLICK to watch the video with some of the best moments from the shoot captured.
If you have any questions, please email Hannah@Rmhccv.org
Thank you for spending the day with us on Saturday and please save the date for 2014: April 19th!
Our goal every day is to make our families as comfortable and taken care of as we can so they can focus on taking care of their kiddos. When an organization comes along and makes it easier for us to do that, our days are made.
Two weeks ago Tempur-Pedic donated 38 Sleep Systems for our 18 room house. It took 30 volunteers from Tempur Pedic, Sleep Train, and Fresno State to help us with the project.
Every night our house is full of 18 families with hospitalized children. We hope to give them rest, a meal, laundry help, showers, or just a listening ear. The average length of stay for our families is 13 nights, but as many of you know we have families stay with us for as little as one night and as many as 90. Having comfortable, ergodynamic beds for them to rest and gain needed energy for the next day is more than a gift.
Tempur-Pedic has donated more than 5,000 beds to Ronald McDonald House Charities in North America and has plans to continue to the donation through out the year.
Thank you to Tempur-Pedic for their hearts and for helping us do a little bit more for the families that need us!
We wanted to make sure that all our participants had the need to know information for our upcoming Sporting Clays Tournament.
Here are some of our quick tips:
- We provide all the ammo for you during the shoot so don’t worry about packing any.
- If you’re an NSCA member, make sure to give Hannah your number prior to the event. Call her: 559.4476793
- We’ve got ear plugs and ear wear, but if you have your own, make sure to bring it.
- If you want the chance to win the EXTRA AMAZING GOODIES, make sure you go to our kick off event at Chukchansi!
- If you’re shooting in the morning flight and don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn to head up the mountain, stay and play at Chukchansi. Call them and book a room for $129.00 and use the code: CLAYS
- Come hungry, we’re providing a great lunch catered by Pardini’s
- If you heard about our gun raffle and want to buy a ticket, head to Spencer’s Firearms and purchase them. You can enter for a chance to win great guns!
- IMPORTANT: If you’re shooting in the morning flight, make sure you arrive and check in by 7:30. We’ll have a big crowd and want to get you parked, fed, and on the course by 8:30. If you’re in the afternoon flight, get there by 11:30a and we’ll get you fed, you can bid on auction items, and we’ll send you on your way.
Most importantly, if you have any questions, feedback, or need ANYTHING before the shoot email/call Hannah Hannah@RMHCCV.org
We can’t wait to see you April 20th!