providing a supportive home-away-from-home for families of children receiving medical treatment at area hospitals
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#58Days of #LightsofLove
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November 4, 2013 “I do not know what we would have done if it had not been for the RMH.” The Barron family of three became a family of six 11 weeks early in March 2008. Rylie, Reese and Ryan were born at 29 weeks, 1 day. With a four-year-old at home who was in preschool and dance, Shelley and Randall tried to maintain some semblance of normalcy for her. This meant spending Monday through Friday with their eldest daughter, Racheal, and then the weekends at the Ronald McDonald House while the triplets were growing strong and healthy at Harris Methodist Hospital. They are now five-years-old and in Kindergarten. You can support the House during our #58Days of #LightsofLove campaign by making a gift at http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 5, 2013 “After spending countless hours at the hospital, it is awesome to have somewhere to come that reminds you of home.” When 10-year-old Macy was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome in 2012, the King family was referred to Cook Children’s Medical Center where their social worker connected them to the RMHFW. They stayed at the House in December 2012 and July 2013. “The House is truly a blessing to our family and will always hold a very special place in our heart. The staff is always so friendly and caring, and the organizations that provide the meals are awesome!” You can help light up the lives of our families during our #58Days of #LightsofLove. Your gift of $10 or more made online at www.ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013 helps sponsor a night for an entire family.
November 6, 2013 Stress relief is what we are all about! Your financial support of our #58LightsofLove holiday campaign can bring stress relief to many of our families. Jax came to the Kingrey family by way of the foster-care system. Jax had inherited cavernous malformation syndrome (CMS) from his biological father, uncle and grandfather. CMS is the occurrence of brain lesions and depending upon their location, can kill. While he was treated for an illness and ultimately surgery in January and February 2011, the Kingrey family stayed at the RMH. “So much of the stress of what is going on in your life is made so much easier by having a place to stay close to the hospital and doctor and having the RMH staff help you with everything. We so deeply appreciate the volunteers who prepare meals for the families.” For four-year-old Jax, our Director of Love and Comfort – a three-year-old Labradoodle, Mac, did his job well. When the Kingrey family visits the House during Jax’s check-ups, Mac is the number one “boy” on his list to see. The Kingreys also bring donations of our Wish List items as a way to say thank you - their way to help relieve stress of our current families. Donate at www.ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 7, 2013 The “summer” home of the Utleys helps “provide almost as much healing as the hospital itself in terms of the whole person. Learn more about Mathias’ struggle with leukemia and what the House, which has been home for nine months, has meant to his family. Become a part of #58LightsofLove. Donate at http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/LightsofLove2013.
Read the Utleys full story. Click here.
November 8, 2013 For then seven-year-old Madison, staying at the Ronald McDonald House in 2010 while being treated for gastroesophageal reflux disease meant that everything would be ok. Mac, our 3-year-old Labradoodle also factored into helping Madison deal with the stress of coming to town for follow-up visits. “We didn’t come to Fort Worth to see her doctors, we came to Fort Worth to see Mac! He is what helped Madison get through the appointments.” The Michael family visits frequently and makes deliveries of items on our wish list. You can help families know that everything will be ok by helping with our #58LightsofLove campaign. Donate now at http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 9, 2013 Imagine living five hours away from the hospital needed to treat your child for stage 3 high-risk neuroblastoma. This is what the Bloxham family encountered when Gracie was just three in 2010. “The RMHFW means so much to us because it helped to alleviate the stress of finances and being away from home for long periods of time.” Gracie had a stem cell transplant in 2010 and follow-up antibodies treatments March through June 2011. She is now seven and a half and doing well. “We were so grateful for the opportunity to stay there and to experience the service of others through their donations or toys or games or making meals.” Show your support of #58LightsofLove with a donation to our holiday campaign: http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 10, 2013 The House was home for 102 days for the Cochran family, April 15, 2011 – July 24, 2011. Sweet Jaret was born at 25 weeks 1 day and weighed 2 lbs, 2 oz and was only 13” long; he is now 2 and a half. “If I couldn’t be home, the RMHFW was the best place to be. We had everything we could ask for and more. Charles helped us, including my 8-year-old son, out so much during our stay with our many talks. I cannot say enough good things about Charles. He is a God-send. We love the RMHFW, and we will never forget everything that was done for us while we stayed there.” When you donate to #58LightsofLove, you help families just like the Cochrans. You can donate now at http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 11, 2013 “We were greeted with hugs, a clean room and warm meals every day.” Learn more about little Gus’ struggle with aortic stenosis and how the House provided peace of mind. Your donation of $10 or more for #58LightsofLove helps relieve the financial burden of a hotel for families like the Burns who must stay a long way from home for long periods of time. Give now: http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 12, 2013 In April of this year, nine-year-old Kyleigh suffered from a disorder of the corpus callosum. She and her family stayed at the House while she underwent rehabilitation at Cook Children’s Medical Center. “We became very attached to many families and still keep in touch with many. The House is a very loving place.” The Fernandez family was told that Kyleigh would never walk, but with the belief of her doctors and rehabilitation, Kyleigh is now moving around with the help of a walker. Did you know that a donation of just $30 could help sponsor a family’s stay for three nights? You can donate to #58LightsofLove now and send the message that you want to help keep families together during their most critical times. http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013
November 13, 2013 To Carey, mom of 8-year-old Anjelica, the House is quiet and calming. John and Carey called the RMH home for three weeks in August and September of this year. Angelica had brain surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center on August 30 for a tumor and underwent rehabilitation to relearn to walk and work on balance/coordination issues. “The RMHFW allowed us to be able to focus on our daughter and her recovery and not be worried about the cost of having a clean, safe and friendly place to stay. The volunteer meals were a huge highlight during our stay; it was so great to not worry about a meal.” You can help more families find strength in the quiet and calming atmosphere at the RMH. Join us in our #58LightsofLove and donate at http://ftworthrmh.ejoinme.org/lightsoflove2013.
November 14, 2013 The Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth was home for the Storie family for 141 days. At just three-days-old, Madison’s parents learned that she was in severe heart failure and would need a heart transplant. On February 5, 2013, Madison’s mommy and daddy checked out of the RMHFW and checked into the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities Gatewood House. Madison had been transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For nine-and-a-half months, sweet Madison fought for life, and her parents were able to be right next to her during her brave fight because of the Ronald McDonald Houses.
“The Ronald McDonald Houses of Fort Worth and Atlanta meant we had a place to call home during Madison’s hospital stays. We are so thankful we were able to stay at both Houses. It was so nice to have a good night’s sleep so we could concentrate on tending to Madison. The House that Love Built means the world to my family.”
Help families like the Stories find togetherness during the holiday season. Their little angel, born on September 14, 2012, would be 14 months old today, November 14, 2013. Participate in #58LightsofLove and donate now.
November 15, 2013 When our son was born 15 years ago, 3 months premature, our world was flipped upside down. He was very sick and my wife was also very sick. Bailey would spend the next 3 months of his life at Cook's Children's Hospital. We were 60 miles from Fort Worth and we needed to be with Bailey every day until he could come home. Arrangements were made for us to stay at the RMH. We didn't know what to expect, but when we arrived at the RMH, we were greeted by a caring staff, wonderful volunteers, and families who were going through similar struggles like Robbie and me. They were a built in support group for us. The facility was extremely nice and comfortable with a feel of home. Volunteers were always cooking meals. These acts of kindness allowed us to spend more time and focus on our son while he was in the hospital. We stayed at the RMH from late September through mid December 1998. When we left for home, we said our good byes with our newfound friends and family at the RMH. We were so happy to go home yet we would miss everyone. We were so thankful for the experience. In the midst of a troublesome time in our life, we were surrounded with love at the RMH. In that short time, profound and lasting memories were made. My faith teaches that, "whatever you have done for the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done the same for me." RMH, you are doing this work. This is what you mean to us. You will always have a special place in our heart. The Dement Family
November 16, 2013 “Because of the Ronald McDonald House our lives became very focused…” Alaina’s diagnosis was acute myelogenous leukemia. She fought for three years while being treated at Cook Children’s Medical Center, and the RMHFW gave John and Leslie the ability to focus on their daughter. Your #58LightsofLove donation can support other families’ focus on their children.
November 17, 2013 “We were able to have a ‘home base’ for Christmas last year.” Little Noah was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome on September 24, 2012. He fought hard and his family stayed at the House off and on through February 2013 so they could be right there with him, even through Christmas. In honor of his TPaw’s birthday today, we bring you the Weisberger family. Read their #58LightsofLove story and see how your gift can make the RMH a home base for other families this Christmas.
November 18, 2013 The RMH is a place of heroes. Samantha was 10 when she started treatment for pre-leukemia at Cook Children’s Medical Center in August 2011. Before starting treatment, Samantha wrote a poem entitled “Heroes.” “Throughout Samantha’s battle we came across so many heroes…the RMHFW staff, supporters and the wonderful volunteers certainly fall into that category!” said Samantha’s mom, Peggy. After her bone marrow transplant she was able to leave the hospital and go to the RMHFW. Her 8-year-old brother Daniel summed it up best: “I get to go to the RMHFW and stay with my whole family for the whole weekend.” It had been over two months since they had been together for more than a few hours at a time. Unfortunately, Samantha only stayed that first weekend before being re-admitted to Cooks. “Samantha won her battle with Leukemia on January 30, 2012—it just wasn’t here on earth with us. We miss her everyday but we are so thankful for the people that were put in our life to get us through that time. They certainly are ‘Heroes’ to us,” said Peggy. You can be a hero to our families by supporting our #58LightsofLove campaign.
November 19, 2013 “Jaycee was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia T Cell on August 28, 2013. We stayed in the RMH from August 30 until Oct 22.I had heard of the RMH, but never really knew what it was exactly. I work in direct sales, and the charity that they chose to donate to this year is the RMH. This was announced to us in July. I thought, oh cool, but still didn't really know much. And then in late August when Jaycee was diagnosed, we soon found out just how important the RMH would be to us. I am forever grateful for the RMH because we lived two hours from Cooks, so it was a long commute having to go almost every day for those two months. This was a way for us to keep our family together and still be near the hospital. The groups that came to cook for everyone were fantastic! Jaycee made great friends with the Dallas Baptist University girls. She spent one entire afternoon with them outside just playing. The staff was also amazing! I was able to talk with Charles and with Lauri and they were so sweet and kind! I met some other wonderful moms going through similar situations and they helped me out in so many ways. I will never forget the RMH, and now when I actually go to McDonald’s, I know just exactly what I am donating to when they ask if I want to donate $1 to the RMH. We have now moved to another state to be closer to family and closer to a hospital for my daughter, but we will NEVER forget what the RMH did for us!” The O’Saile Family
Your donation to the campaign helps keep families together.
November 20, 2013 The oldest of four girls, Megan Ellen Ledue was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in March 1990. She was 8 years old. Megan received radiation treatment at Cook Children’s Medical Center five days a week for several months, and her parents and grandmother stayed at the House off and on over a two-year period. “We didn’t know about the RMH at first, but when we did, it changed our world,” said Megan’s mom, Connie. “I can’t even think about how we would have ever been able to stay in Fort Worth without the RMH. We stayed at the original House on 8th Avenue, which had been a home. Every room was different, bathrooms were shared, and sometimes space was tight. But it was more than just a place to stay. There was love; there was giving; there was laughter to go along with all the tears.” On March 21, 1992, Megan passed away at 10 years, 3 months, 9 days and 6 hours of age, but Connie says of the RMH, “We found solace there; we found support there; we found friends there.” Your #58LightsofLove donation helps families find the love, the giving and the laughter of our home-away-from-home.
November 21, 2013 For three different times and 120 days, the Rocha family stayed at The Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth while Socorro was treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia during 2008 and 2009. The House is a place where mom could interact with other families and Socorro could watch movies, eat lots of different foods and do different crafts and enjoy life in a community, which had other families like hers. “The RMH was a place where I could watch my daughter light up because she didn’t have to be in a hospital room. It was our safe haven, and I really don’t know what I would have done without the RMH.” Help light up the lives of our families this holiday season; make a donation to our #58LightsofLove campaign.
November 22, 2013 “In June 2011, the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth became our home-away-from-home for almost two months. Our son Greyson was born with hydrocephalus, scoliosis, and optic nerve dysplasia. At two weeks old, he underwent brain surgery for a shunt placement. We were worried, stressed and just plain lost! The Ronald McDonald House provided us with so much more than just a place to stay during his treatment. They gave us peace of mind, love, comfort, and a family when we could not be with ours. The House was truly the answer to our prayers. We have been back four times over the past two years, and we are always welcomed with such loving, smiling faces. We thank the Ronald McDonald House for everything you all have done to help our family and the families of others!!” Kyla Young
November 23, 2013 Dominic and Billy’s fondest memory at the House was getting asked to raise the flag at the Topping Out ceremony in January 2013.
November 24, 2013 The Soliz family came to know of the RMH when their five-year-old son struggled with double pneumonia. His prognosis was hour to hour when they checked into Cook Children's Health Care System on November 2, 2010. “We lived 3 ½ hours away and had a one-year-old daughter. Because of the RMH, my husband, daughter, and my son’s grandparents were able to be together during the weekend and even Thanksgiving. We stayed at the House through December 4 when my son was well enough to go home. I cannot say enough good things about Cook and the RMH,” says Mrs. Soliz. Keeping families together during Thanksgiving week…
November 25, 2013 Harris Lee Sullivan was born seven weeks premature. She is now two. Her mother, Lauren, recalls her first day at the House. “The only person I knew for many miles was my 3 pound 14 ounce preemie who I could only see for a few hours a day. It was hard, but with the help of RMHFW, we were able to maintain some family balance.” Your support of our #58LightsofLove helps families maintain balance. Donate now! We run the Sullivan story today in honor of Harris’ big brother’s birthday!
“I remember my first day at RMHFW. I remember the fears I had for my child. I remember crying in the director’s office. I felt like I was falling into a black hole after all the chaos of the few days before. I remember RMHFW being a blessing. Our family had to be split for the time that our daughter, Harris Lee, was in the hospital. My husband had to go home to care for our son. Mr. Charles was so sweet to ask about Harris, and the office people helped coordinate things to make my stay more comfortable. Lockheed Martin (where my husband’s uncle had just retired after 45 years) came to make dinner that first night. I cried in my chicken cordon bleu; I still have a picture of that first meal because it meant so much to me. I found a child’s picture in the foyer that was from my hometown and didn’t feel so lonely anymore. Our son and my mom were able to come stay with me. We don’t know what we would have done for that month without RMHFW. They allowed us to care for our baby and be comfortable. It was truly one of the biggest blessings of our life. “
November 26, 2013 The Game, by Casey Johnson, June 5, 1998, age 12:
I face this game where stakes are high
One wrong move means I could die.
This game of mine is a daily fight
I play it each day with all my might.
In this game I can’t runaway, the best
I can do is beat this play by play.
In this game I struggle quite a bit
But through it all I’ll never quit.
This game I play is very tough
It makes my skin rough.
In this game I have to pray
To help me get through everyday.
This game I play can deter.
This game I play is known as cancer.
November 27, 2013 "The fact that Kodi was not locked into a hospital room made it so much better, for our sanity, as well as for health reasons. The RMH is not something we ever dreamed we would need, but we're so glad that it was here," said Tracy Tutt.
You can give families just like the Tutts the gift of togetherness this holiday season by donating.
November 29, 2013 No words needed for this #58LightsofLove. You are welcome, Maripaz. Thank you for being part of our family!
December 1, 2013 Today’s #58LightsofLove story is dedicated to Eddie and Terry Turner by their daughter, Jennifer, in honor of their 40th wedding anniversary coming up December 3. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Turner!
Jennifer Diane was flown by Care Flight to Cook Children's Medical Center on the night of September 26, 1992, the night of her father's birthday. She was diagnosed with Post-Infectious Encephalitis and had a slim chance of survival. She awoke from her coma on her mother’s birthday, October 4, 1992, asking for chocolate. She spent close to a month being rehabilitated on Cook Children's Rehab Unit. In 2005, she graduated from Gainesville High School and earned $2,300 in scholarships. She graduated with her Associate of Arts from NCTC in May of 2009 and will be graduating with her Bachelor's degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Child Life, from Texas Women's University in 2014. Jennifer has also spent several years volunteering throughout her community, most notably Cook Children's Medical Center where she helped out as a Child Life Volunteer on the TCU/RCU unit.
“The RMHFW graciously provided basic necessities for my parents while I was in a coma. The House went above and beyond to ensure my parents had everything they needed throughout their stay during the most difficult time in their life. Without the RMHFW, my parents would have never had a moment of their own. The House provides vital resources from housing, meals, to a warm blanket and comfy bed to rest in for parents of critically ill children. The RMHFW welcomes each family with warm open arms and provides a light of hope during a parent's darkest moments of life. Thanks to their support, my parents were able to get a good night's rest that helped them regain their strength and prepared them for the days ahead. I encourage everyone to light up a life by donating to RMHFW today! Your donation enables RMHFW to help provide the greatest blessings to families and children in need,” says Jennifer.
December 2, 2013 At exactly 1:23pm, July 2, 2013, sweet Abigail Faith Hicks was born at 30 weeks weighing just 2lbs, 13oz and only 13” long. We celebrate her family’s #58LightsofLove story today on her five-month birthday!
At birth, Abigail was immediately given oxygen and put on a ventilator. “I was only able to see Abigail for just a minute, and they took her by ambulance to Cook Children’s Medical Center where she lived for the first six weeks of her life,” says mom, Jennifer. “The RMH was a lifesaver for my husband and me. I could see Abigail’s room at the hospital from my room at the RMH. Having a nice comfortable bed and hot meals every day was extremely helpful and it made things so much less stressful. I cannot tell you how thankful we truly are and how wonderful this organization is. It was our home-away-from-home for six long weeks, and you all were truly a blessing in our lives. The RMHFW made our NICU journey so much easier. We will forever be grateful.”
December 3, 2013 In 2009, two-year-old Zach was diagnosed with rhabdomysaroma, a pediatric cancer. His parents stayed at the Fort Worth House over two weeks while Zach underwent diagnostic testing and initial chemotherapy treatments. While they started Zach’s treatment in Fort Worth, he was also treated in Dallas and New York City. And in each city, the Cartwright family stayed at the local RMH.
“The RMH organization means the world to me, but the Fort Worth House will always hold a special place as it was my introduction to House life and the world of chronically ill children. Zach is now three years cancer-free. We still visit the Dallas House; every time we are shown love by having a home-away-from-home and I am reminded how blessed we are to have The House that Love Built in our family,” says Jennifer Cartwright. #58LightsofLove
December 4, 2013 For Amanda and Marcus Carroll, the RMHFW was not a place they wanted to need, but were so glad it was here when they did need it. Their 25-day-old son, Jude, was careflighted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in May 2012 after he coded in his hospital room in Abilene a few hours after emergency surgery to remove an incarcerated inguinal hernia. He also had a bowel resection because part of his intestine died due to blood loss from the hernia. He spent three weeks in the PICU, had another emergency bowel resection five days after we arrived at Cook’s (which was his one month birthday), had surgery to place a central line, and spent two weeks on the surgical floor before he was discharged on his two-month birthday.
“Before we needed the RMH, we really didn’t know what it was all about. We’d only seen the donation boxes in McDonald’s restaurants. Now we know all about it, and it is an absolutely wonderful place! Staying at the RMH allowed us to have a quiet place to sleep when our son was in the ICU, and there was always food available even when we came back to the house after midnight or left the house really early to go back to the hospital. The best part for us was that we were able to share our room with Amanda’s mother and sister for about two weeks. They took the night shift at the hospital and we took the day shift so we could be there to talk with the doctors. It was so helpful to get a solid eight hours of sleep during those stressful weeks and to have a place to sleep and food available for our family too. Having your child hospitalized 200 miles away from your home is just so stressful and hard and comes with a lot of financial costs, even if you are fortunate and have good insurance as we did. The food and lodging provided helped financially, and having a quiet, homey place to go to get away from the hospital while still being very close made a very hard situation easier. RMH is a place you never ever want to need, but it is such a blessing if you do need it!” said dad, Marcus. #58LightsofLove
December 5, 2013 No matter the length, the message is just as meaningful. #58LightsofLove
December 6, 2013 Karis was six years old when she was diagnosed with malignant posterior fossa ependymoma with metastases to the spine. For the next six years Karis and her mom, Lana, called the RMHFW and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Antonio, Texas their home-away-from-home. Read Karis’ #58LightsofLove story and see how the Houses helped them.
Read: Karis is a miracle
December 9, 2013 Abby from Abilene as she was affectionately called, and her mom first stayed at the RMHFW in February 1999. Abby was born with AV canal defect and needed heart surgery. She is now 15 and still comes back to visit frequently when in town for doctor appointments at Cook Children’s Medical Center. In 2001, Abby was the cover image of the RMHFW Cookbook. “The House became our home. When we had a particularly hard time at the hospital and I was very sad, I would always knew that if I walked across the street there would be someone there to give me a hug and a shoulder to cry on. I am just so thankful that when we were going through one of the worst parts that the Ronald McDonald House was there for us. The building and all its comfortable amenities were nice, but the people is what makes it a home!” says mom, Cyndi. Today’s #58LightsofLove is posted in memory of Abby’s grandmother who passed on December 9. Read the 2001 RMHFW Love Letter and learn more about Abby from Abilene.
December 9, 2013 Brendon Coates was born December 10, 2002. His mom, Alison, tells us our #58LightsofLove today, in memory of his 11th birthday. Read the Coates story and be a part of our lives…
Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth | 1001 Eighth Avenue | Fort Worth, Texas 76104 | 817.870.4942
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The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates; McDonald's, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo, RMHC, Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.
RMHFW is an IRS-recognized 501(c)3 corporation, and contributions made to RMHFW may be tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. Please consult with your tax advisor.