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Parker’s Safe Place

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Parker is a pretty unique kid. He is an awesome four-year-old with some special DNA. Shortly after he was born, we found out that he had some extra genetic material on one of his chromosomes.

After four years, he still does not have a diagnosis. We take medical issues as they come. We have no name, no plan, and no reason Parker is the way his is. Along with this comes countless doctor appointments, numerous tests and procedures, and a variety of surgeries.

The first time we stayed at the Idaho Ronald McDonald House [RMH], Parker spent almost nine weeks in the St. Luke’s NICU. It was nine very long weeks. Parker was able to leave after an abdominal surgery, a feed port placement, and a list of doctor’s to follow up with. Since then, it has been a few days here and a few days there. While Parker will probably have a lifetime of issues with his body and be a frequent guest at the House, there is no denying that his life would be a whole lot harder without it.

The dining room has become a place for us to meet people who understand our journey. The playroom, a place for Parker to interact with kids just like him, who spend more time visiting doctors than on play dates. The RMH has become a safe haven amid a world of medical chaos.

No matter what he endures, there is a familiar, comforting place to regroup and heal. After a day of being poked and prodded, he has a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in. After a scary procedure, there is a playroom for him that he knows and loves. After a long day at the hospital, there is a warm dinner waiting. And there is always hot coffee before heading to the hospital in the morning.

The RMH has been more than just a place to stay while Parker is undergoing some medical procedures. The staff has become a second family. They have celebrated with us when Parker was finally able to get his leg cast removed from his clubfoot and transitioned from a wheelchair to a leg brace. They cared for us after a difficult surgery when Parker couldn’t get out of the bed due to the pain. They rejoice with us every time a procedure goes better than expected or a test comes back with good news. They have understood the tears after a day that produced less than stellar results.

Parker has such a positive attitude and lights up any room he enters. Maybe someday we will have answers to why he is the way he is but until then, we have the RMH to see us through.

With much love and appreciation,
The Netherton Family
Weiser, Idaho

Families like the Nethertons have experienced similar feelings towards the Idaho Ronald McDonald House. Guests at the House are surrounded by staff and other families that understand and provide support through their time of need. This compassionate environment is what makes the Ronald McDonald House a comfortable, caring place to stay for families when they travel far from home for their child’s medical treatment.

When families stay at the House, they are asked for a $10 donation per night although no family is turned down due to a financial hardship. Through your donations to the Share a Night campaign, you are providing families with that comfort and ease of mind of not having to worry about where they will stay or where they can get a meal. The Ronald McDonald House of Idaho has a policy of never turning a family down due financial causes. By donating, you are able to upkeep that policy held by the house.

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Thanks for All the Kindness

Reese at Baby beachReese was born in McCall, ID and appeared to be as healthy as could be. Unfortunately, labor had been VERY long and more traumatic for her than we realized. Two hours after she was born, she stopped breathing and went completely blue. Miraculously, I happened to be holding her and our doctor, who was a good friend, happened to still be hanging out and sharing in our happiness. She grabbed Reese, ran out of the room, and performed infant CPR to save her life. The McCall hospital wasn’t equipped to run the necessary tests to figure out what went wrong, so the decision was made to fly Reese down to St. Luke’s in Boise.

When we got to Boise and realized that she was in amazing hands and would likely be just fine, our exhaustion caught up with us. Later that first day, we were able to secure a room at the Ronald MacDonald House and after a few hours of real rest our entire outlook improved.

We were only at the Ronald McDonald House for 3 nights, but in that time, we enjoyed fresh baked goods, homemade meals and sincere kindness from the staff, volunteers, and fellow residents. We had a comfortable bed to sleep in and a private space to gather our thoughts. We also became keenly aware that our situation, while traumatic for us, was minor in the grand scheme of issues that the families who utilize the Ronald MacDonald House experience. Having access to the Ronald McDonald House took a big load off our minds and allowed us to focus on Reese – even for just a few days…we can only imagine the impact it has for families whose children require extensive and repeated hospital stays. Worrying about kids is a right of parenthood….worrying about sick kids is overwhelming…not having to worry about accommodations when you have a sick child is a gift. Traumatic events have a way of exposing us to immeasurable kindness.

Thank you so much! ~ Ginny Carroll

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There’s Nothing Like the Ronald McDonald House

Anna and Ayden
I hope your family never needs RMHC. But if you do, there’s nothing like it

I felt like I was in some kind of boxing match. I was fighting a battle for my life against pre-eclampsia and so was my newborn, Ayden. Shortly after birth, he was life-flighted to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise to receive care at the NICU. I had to fight to get to my Ayden, he was having surgery that day and there was a room waiting for us at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH).

Pre-eclampsia had affected my uterus making its growth restricted; causing my baby Ayden to be born 6 weeks early at only 2lbs 13 ounces. The delivery doctor called him a miracle baby, lucky even to be alive. Not only was he small, but his umbilical cord was barely attached, and he suffered from a congenital condition called tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia. His esophagus had a gap so it wasn’t attached to his stomach but it was attached to his trachea; a life threatening and serious condition.

Little did we know that first day at RMH would extend to about 114 days of stay, in order to be by Ayden’s side as he fought an even bigger battle than me for his life. He went through a total of three surgeries. The first to block his esophagus from his lungs, the second (which required us to wait three months for the esophagus to grow) was to attach his esophagus to his stomach, and the third took care of his hernias. In addition he developed a condition that caused fluids to build around his lungs. This required two chest tubes and a lot of feeds through his veins.

We eventually brought the boys with us to the RMH. As a family, we visited Ayden and let him know that we were there for him. When we weren’t with Ayden we spent countless hours together as a family. The RMH provided tickets to the Zoo, Aquarium, and The Discovery Center. It was a much needed break from all the trials we faced with Ayden, as we experienced uncertainty and a lot of tears. We did more things as a family than we ever had done before. The House provided a place where we could be together and as close to Ayden as possible.

Ayden, rightfully named, means little firecracker. He has shown us how important having Family during times of healing is essential. RMH provided us a way to do that; to heal together. With their help, we are winning this battle. Ayden has taught us to find happiness in life regardless of the trials or physical limitations. He is our miracle baby. We are so happy to have Ayden with us and so fortunate to have the support of the Idaho Ronald McDonald House.

With much appreciation and love,
The Coates Family

#KeepingFamiliesClose

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Telling Stories for Idaho Gives, Mindy Plumlee, Executive Director

This is the second year of a statewide giving campaign throughout Idaho for nonprofits and we are hoping to use the opportunity of the May 1 Idaho Gives day to help spread a greater understanding of the mission of the Ronald McDonald House.

So many people can identify with the name of the Ronald McDonald House, but there is often a greater question about what it is we do. Common misconceptions include that we’re owned by McDonald’s, or owned by the hospital, or that we’re just a Boise thing (when in reality, we serve families and children who live outside of the Treasure Valley and have to travel here for treatment).

With a lot of support from Regence BlueShield of Idaho (we are so honored to be a Community Partner Organization this year), we were able to work with Oliver Russell to help tell the story of the Ronald McDonald House. And who better to tell the story, than families who have used the House. Families like these below:

A special thanks to the courageous parents featured in these spots, we are so honored that they were willing to share their story and their journey with all of us.

Mark your calendar now for Idaho Gives, and share the message today, or share a story. On May 1st, your gift through our Idaho Gives page will make a difference for many more families. You can also schedule your donation today and it will be processed on May 1st.   Be a part of the experience!Image

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Making a Difference in a BIG way!

regence cpoRegence BlueShield of Idaho announced that Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho has been selected as a 2014 Regence Community Partner Organization. They presented a $100,000 check to House staff, board members and volunteers on Friday, Mar. 14

“We feel very fortunate to be partnering with a nonprofit that shares our commitment to helping the overall well-being of Idaho families across our state,” said Scott Kreiling, Regence president. “The Ronald McDonald House has opened its doors to so many people who needed a home while their children were in the hospital. Through our partnership we can help them continue to grow so they can help even more families.”

Regence community partner organizations receive comprehensive assistance through financial grants, event support, board member involvement (Ronald McDonald House board member, Georganne Benjamin is a Regence employee), featured placement in an annual employee giving campaign and employee volunteer support.

Such a diverse scope of support will put us in a stronger position to continue fulfilling our mission and allow us to focus on essential messaging and invest in strategies that strengthen visibility for the House across the state.

Stay tuned for more details as they unfold. This community partnership has exciting potential for long-lasting, meaningful impact.

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What the numbers say – Micaela de Loyola, Volunteer Coordinator

A round up of 2013
Big thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers and donors of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho!!! You make a huge difference in the lives of the families that call this house a home.
• Over 3000 individuals spent time volunteering in 2013

• 8771.33 hours of service was provided in 2013 by our Western State CAT Sporting Clays Tournament, J.R. Simplot Memorial Golf Tournament, Food from the Heart, Around the House, Yard work and Handyman volunteers

• We provided a “home away from home” for 559 families in 2013

• Thanks to all of the wonderful donors who brought in new toys and clothes for Santa’s Workshop. In December so many families were able to go through the room and choose toys for their children. All together the donations we received helped us to provide 75 children a special Christmas.

• Thanks to our Food from the Heart volunteers, families are able to spend more time with their child. With an average stay at the RMHC of Idaho being 9 days a family can gain 23.40 hours of time with their child by not having to spend nearly 3 hours a day not cooking and cleaning.

Your time matters – thank you for giving.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving, by Micaela de Loyola, Volunteer Coordinator

The Holidays are upon us and in my job as the Volunteer Coordinator that means being very busy. This time of year inspires in people the need to give to others and offer their support through volunteering. During the Holidays even with busy schedules volunteers commit to service; they might have family visiting and Holiday meals to prepare for themselves, but they still find the time to give to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
For Thanksgiving the Stanfill Family will once again provide a Thanksgiving Feast at the Ronald McDonald House. This is the 4th year they have provided Thanksgiving dinner & it is becoming a tradition for this family. The Stanfills are not only volunteers & but three of them have worked for the RMH at different times, making a love of their volunteer home into a part time job. They enjoy spending time together as a family and yet still be able to provide to those families staying at the House.
If you’re thinking you’d like to be able to make a difference this Thanksgiving, we have the turkeys, green beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing, but are still in need of rolls, a veggie tray and pies. If you want to help, you can drop off a donation between now and Thanksgiving. Please call Micaela at 336-5478 with any questions.
Thank you for your support and we wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.