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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ronald McDonald House

When we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for Gabriella's stroke, it was amazing what just a short time spent there could do. I went over there for an hour daily to shower and refresh, and occasionally spent a little extra time if PJ was brought up to us there. Their playground was a fun place for him to get rid of some energy while blowing bubbles or hitting a beach ball with me. The room was comfortable and calm, unlike the inside of the hospital walls. Having a place to take a warm and quiet shower was like winning the lottery. The big comfy couches in the living room gave us 5 minutes of normalcy, sitting in more than a hard recliner sleeper. The computers allowed me to quickly reply to and check on the support Gabriella was shown without interruption. The dining room gave a place for those hot meals brought in by volunteers nightly to be enjoyed and we were able to meet other parents with little ones fighting various battles over food. And the kitchen was always my favorite last stop to grab something on the go before running back to my daughter.

The Ronald McDonald House was always a great place to me when I would hear about it here and there. But until I experienced it, I could never have fully appreciated what it offered. Our stay at the RMH Phoenix Childrens was merely a preview of the blessing they are, since we will be staying at the House in Loma Linda for months come transplant time.

Tomorrow Gabriella has her MRI at Phoenix Childrens. Everytime we head to Phoenix for an appointment or test, I try and make it a priority to put something together to take to the Ronald McDonald House on campus that so blessed us in September and October. Because of how much we appreciate what they offered to our family, we want to help do our part in giving back what we can right now. We want to help more in the future by making monthly meals and volunteering in whatever way we can. For now, we take different foods and essentials to the house. There were a couple days when we stayed there that quick snacks or fast meals were in short supply and there was not much to eat. I keep that in mind when grocery shopping and packing a box. Do you know how cheap you can get some things like boxes of macaroni and cheese or crackers? Or how valuable those free samples or travel sized shampoos and lotions from a hotel are? And do you know how much those simple items mean to a family at the RMHC? I'll tell you, it means the world.

I encourage you to clean out your pantry's. Are there canned fruits you haven't opened yet and don't have plans for? Do you have way too many boxes of Ritz? Do you have a plethora of travel sized items you took from those last 4 hotel stays? Consider taking them to your local RMHC.

You can find a complete list of foods, personal items, household items, games, etc and a link to search your local chapter here: RMHC NEEDS They will give you a donation receipt, and it's a great lesson in charity too for kids. My kids totally understand that mommies and daddies stay at this special house when their babies are sick in the hospital, so we take them things they need. And if you live in Arizona and want to bring them to me, just email me or comment here I will make a special trip with all your donations!

Thanks, Gabriella's friends!

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