Heartfelt Times Newsletter Spring 2012
The Said Family
Rima Said, left, and her daughter, Lamar, 3, right, join with Hank and Faye Sokol, “Cooks for Kids” volunteers, to prepare a home-cooked meal for guests. The Said Family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House while daughter, Jana, 4, receives outpatient treatment for leukemia. The family has been here for 10 months now, and will stay for as long as it takes to complete Jana’s cancer treatment. Many families like the Saids feel more at home when they can cook their own meals and maintain a familiar routine for their children. Families must spend long hours at the hospital with their sick child, and having community volunteers cook for them is a blessing.
Lamar Said, 3, above left. and her sister Jana, 4, enjoy blowing bubbles in the garden at the Ronald McDonald House. The long illness of a child can be an emotional rollercoaster, and adults and children alike appreciate this tranquil spot that provides them with a place to relax, rest and heal.
The Michienzi Family
Megan Michienzi, 11, who travels to Buffalo for testing, receives a hug from Sabretooth, the Sabres mascot, who accompanied a group representing the Buffalo Sabres that cooked dinner for guests. Despite their illness, kids can be kids at the Ronald McDonald House. The large playroom is a favorite spot for many youngsters and gives them something to look forward to when they must make frequent trips for medical treatment.
Brodey, 11, center, is surrounded by loved ones at the Ronald McDonald House. Clockwise from right are Kathie, Brodey’s grandmother; Kaylee, Brodey’s sister; Natalie Witmer, Brodey’s mother, and a family friend. Brodey feels right at home at the Ronald McDonald House. He has been staying here since his first birthday when he had to begin traveling to Buffalo for specialized treatment. He suffers from a condition called Vein of Galen Malformation, which results in brain aneurysms. It can be frightening for a child to undergo medical treatment far from home, but the Ronald McDonald House makes sure his family is right there with him.
The Marlowe family prepared a home-cooked meal for resident families to return the support and friendship they had received while staying at the Ronald McDonald House in 2010. From left are Major Bill Marlowe; Maddy, 2; Sabrina, Hannah and Liam. After seven months in Iraq, Major Marlowe expected to go home to North Carolina to meet Maddy, then three months old, who had been born while he was deployed. Instead, he was told to go to Buffalo, where she was hospitalized with an infection that caused serious breathing problems. The Ronald McDonald House allowed him and his wife to be near their sick child. The House also gave him the opportunity to reconnect with the other children who hadn’t seen him in seven months. “I don’t know how I ever would have done it without the House,” said Sabrina. “I want people to know how appreciative we are for the support, the hugs and the friendship we found there.”
Notes from Sally
During National Volunteer Week in April, we hung a banner to welcome our weekly shift volunteers, and staff members prepared breakfast and lunch for them. We wanted to honor the people who contribute generous, selfless hours making the Ronald McDonald House a home and give gifts of kindness to the families staying at the House.
One of these volunteers is Al Dittenhauser, Master of House Maintenance, who generously donates two days of his time each week so that families can be assured of having a comfortable and safe residence. When Al is not replacing burned-out chandelier bulbs or freeing up house water lines, he is building or repairing equipment in this 14,000-square-foot House.
Check out the photos below to see the many ways volunteers help our families, and go to rmhcwny.org or call us at (716) 883-1177 to become a volunteer, too!
Thank you all for your loyal support!
Sally Vincent, Executive Director
There are many ways you can help the House. We invite Western New York companies, organizations and community groups to support the Ronald McDonald House through donations of cash, products or services or by organizing a fundraising event.
Perhaps you can supply items from our Wish List, which can be seen at rmhcwny.org. Volunteers are always needed for our Cooks For Kids meal preparation program.
No matter how big or small your donation, your gift makes a real difference in the lives of our families!
|Children from Nardin Academy Montessori School walked to the Ronald McDonald House to donate Valentine treats for families and tour the house.|
Volunteer groups and Donations