May Volunteer of the Month – Melanie Ley
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we’ll be highlighting a stand-out volunteer (or two) and how they support families. For May, meet Melanie Ley, who has been an essential part of our volunteer team for more than 20 years, from co-chairing the planning committee for our Annual Gala to coordinating volunteer groups from her team at HAVI.
- How long have you volunteered with us?
I have been volunteering with RMHC-CNI for over 20 years.
- Where do you volunteer and what do you do?
I volunteer in a number of capacities. For the last several years, I have chaired the volunteer planning committee for RMHC-CNI’s Annual Gala to raise money so families of sick children can heal together. I also co-chair a soccer tournament committee for RMHC-CNI that has raised almost $250,000 to date, and I volunteer at the annual Golf Classic, Skate with the Greats, Sporting Clays, and any other events that need additional help. Outside of fundraising events, I organize our department at HAVI to cook and do projects at the RMH near Loyola on a yearly basis.
- Why did you first start volunteering with RMHC, and what keeps you coming back?
I first started volunteering with RMHC because I wanted to give back. I called RMHC for a recommendation for a doctor who specialized in Crohn’s disease for my younger brother – he is in the 1% of atypical Crohn’s patients and needed a doctor who could treat him. The doctor turned out to be exactly who my brother needed, and after many years of ups and downs, my brother is still doing well because I made that phone call asking for a recommendation. I give back because I understand what it is like to take care of a sick child and how exhausting it can be as a caregiver.
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
My favorite RMHC-CNI experience was in 2018 at the Annual Gala when, for the first time in the event’s history, we achieved the goal of raising over $1 million. I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps knowing how many families would feel the relief of staying in Ronald McDonald Houses so they could continue to stay close to their child to love and care for them as they recover.
- What does it mean to you to donate your time to RMHC-CNI?
Dedicating my time and energy to RMHC-CNI to raise money or feed families so parents can focus their time and energy on caring for their sick child fills my heart with pride, joy, and love. It takes a great deal of time to focus on a child when they are sick, so relieving a family of some of that pressure by providing them with a meal or a place to stay close to their child means a great deal. The more time a family can spend with their child, the better, because the ultimate goal is for the child to be healthy again.
Thank you Melanie for your continued dedication and commitment!