Ronald McDonald House touches the lives of families when they most need support. These are a few of their stories.
Skyler and her family have spent many nights at the Ronald McDonald House while she has been receiving treatment at Albany Med. Skyler’s tumors are now gone but she will continue to receive treatment.
Her fearless attitude and perpetual smile has inspired the “Skylar Strong – Fight Like a Girl” movement, which has united her hometown of Thurman, NY, in support of her and inspired people across the world through social media.
When Jackson was finally discharged, John’s thoughts turned to the families and children who remained at the hospital. “I remember being really moved by the realization that we were finally able to go home…it was a powerful moment,” John said. “I knew then that I wanted to do something to ensure that the Ronald McDonald House Family Room would remain a haven for others dealing with their child’s health crisis – I just didn’t know what.”
“Her name will live on here forever. If we didn’t stay here…if they didn’t open the doors for us…we would have been commuting back and forth each day,” said Geoff Lawton, Gracie’s father. “One of us staying in the hospital, one of us staying home with Luke—it would have taken a financial and emotional toll.”
After Jillian recovered, Kathy and a friend who had also used the RMH Family Room decided to give back. They contacted the House about becoming In-House Volunteers. Jason came along on one of their shifts and was instantly hooked. After that, the Fernaus began volunteering regularly at the House as a family.
Julia, who is not yet able to return to school, finds Ronald McDonald House a sort of break in her narrowed life. She enjoys the peace of the house and the video and internet resources available there. “Everyone is so nice,” Julia says. “Everything you need is right there for you.” She also uses the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Albany Medical Center and loves to participate in the Beads of Courage program that was developed with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in partnership with RMHC’s Community Grants program. “When Julia was the guest of honor at the Fashion Show this past summer,” Rachel remembers, “the staff treated her like a princess.”