I wanted to take a minute and write about our experience at Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Check them out and let them know that we sent you =)
Caelyn was in the PICU for 2.5 months before I had even heard anything about RMH. I mean, I had heard of it before, but I did not who was eligible to stay there, the requirements, etc. Finally, someone at the hospital had mentioned that I would be able to stay there while Caelyn was in the hospital. So I got the number and I gave them a call. They took down all of my information, asked a lot of questions and then informed me that there was a waiting list to check in. I had them put my name on the list and held my breath. I was nervous. What is it going to be like? How am I going to afford it? That night I got a call saying that a room had opened up and I was able to check it. Let me tell you, I am so glad that I did. RMH was such a life-saver for our family. I never left Caelyn's side and I was spending upwards of $50+ a week on food alone. Then add into that the stress of being in the hospital 24/7, away from Chloe and never able to get any quality rest. When I checked into RMH I was able to bring my grandma and Chloe with me. That meant so much to me. Caelyn and I had been away from Chloe for 3 months and we all missed each other dearly. That is something that meant a lot to us. Being able to stay together as a family. RMH has a lot of things for kids to do. They have a playground and a play room and numerous activities/programs to keep the kids entertained. They understand that this is a stressful time for them also.
The other thing that we really enjoyed were the home cooked meals. Until you are put in the situation of having a child in the hospital, you will not understand how much you appreciate the little things. It is so nice to come back to RMH after a long day at the hospitals and not have to worry about cooking on top of getting grouchy siblings ready for bed and getting rest yourself. RMH tries to have at least one hot home cooked meal a day, somedays all three meals were provided. If there is not a meal provided, RMH has 2 kitchens with pantries, refridgerators, freezers, stoves and microwaves where there is always food available (free of charge) for you to cook for your family anytime you need it. They always have quick snacks sitting on the counter also. This is truly a blessing to families in need.
RMH really is great place for families. We have been there on 4 separate occasions and they have helped our family so much! They have programs for families sometimes. I remember on one occasion when I was there, they had a massage therapist and I was able to get a FREE massage! Let me tell you, that is a blessing after a stressful day at the hospital!! I also really appreciate that they have a computer room. This enabled me to post updates on facebook and keep in touch with my family. A lot of times they have tickets that have been donated to local events. Because of the generosity of these people, I was able to take Chloe and my grandma to both Boo at Zoo and the Carrie Underwood concert! Talk about amazing! It was so nice to forget about the stress of our situation if only for a few hours!
Long before I found out about RMH, I was using the RMH family room inside the hospital. This room is set up to give families a break while they are in the hospital. There is a computer (which I often used to update family), a play area for kids, books, snacks, and really comfortable furniture =) . I visited the family room often for snacks (to cut down on the money I was having to spend on food), to post updates on the computer, and to just get a break from the stress every now and then.
RMH is an amazing organization ran by amazing people and they can always use your help. Here is what you can do:
1. "Like" RMH on Facebook so you can get their updates
2. Donate now securely online
3. Sponsor a Room
4. Planned Giving
5. Purchase Items For Their Wish List
6. Donate Pull-Tabs
Here are some pictures of Chloe enjoying her time at RMH