I began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House due to my own experience as a parent of a frequently hospitalized child. My daughter, Sadie, was diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, and underwent two brain surgeries at Cleveland Clinic. During her hospitalizations, our family was able to stay nearby at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland. It was such a relief knowing that when one parent wasn’t staying with her in the hospital, the other was nearby.
Sadly, Sadie passed away in November 2013, shortly before her fourth birthday. As a way to honor her memory, friends and family began cooking meals at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center. Wanting to do something more, I started volunteering at the house twice a month. I understand, personally, how important it is to be close to your child when they are hospitalized, and how much the little things – like a clean kitchen, a bottled water, snack, or a hot meal – can improve a stressful situation. I’m honored to help such an amazing organization.
Mary Ann Denker
In 1978 my niece was born in Central IL, with a heart defect, and was transferred to Children’s Memorial. We had never heard of or experienced RMH until that time. My family stayed at the Lincoln Park House for about two months. We found it to be the welcoming oasis in the big city. I learned about the charity at that time and said for the next 25 years – “When I retire I’m going to “work” at RMHC.
I started in about 2003 or 2004 at the Deming House, as a volunteer, working the office and as weekend house manager. I was “promoted” to covering vacations and other jobs as required. I enjoy coming from small town, downstate IL, and conveying to the small town families coming to the big city for treatment that they will be fine, not to be intimidated, and they are in excellent hands at RMHC.
RMHC is the best volunteer job one could have. Making sure the children and families are cared for/assisted when they have questions or issues is heartwarming. I definitely get way more than I give.
How I got involved…. well I watched the house being built, as I live just down the street. I later researched Ronald McDonald House Charities and was (still am) inspired and amazed by what the charity does for families and children in their greatest time of need. Being a family oriented person and having a love for children, I knew this would be an organization I wanted to get involved with. I applied to volunteer in June of 2012 and it was approximately a 12 month wait list from that date. I started training and volunteering in July of 2013 as Family Ambassador II. I currently volunteer 3x’s a month in the evening, and I also volunteer to photograph, sell raffle tickets, or whatever is needed of me at the fundraising events. I’ve met some great people during my time volunteering, from families staying at the house, to other volunteers and of course the charity staff. I’m always happy to do what I can, when I can to help benefit the charity!
I’ve had many great memories and experiences so far, and I look forward to many more as I continue to volunteer with this amazing charity.