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Sunday, November 7, 2010

McNight to Remember

From RMH McNight

We were blessed back in August to be asked by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Phoenix to attend their year end McNight to Remember fundraiser and share our experience with the organization with the financial supporters in attendance. There was no hesitation... as we have been so fortunate to have been part of the RMH since September last year! Saturday night was the big event, and we got all dressed up to go!

From RMH McNight

They had a silent auction, fancy dinner and live auction. All was just lovely, and the organizers of the event did such an amazing job putting it all together. They began a segment where they first showed a video of an interview done with us and many pictures of Gabriella. I was crying before we even hit the stage!!! I then spoke to the audience on our experience, right before they did the big cash call of the evening. I thought since I wrote it out anyways, I'd post my speech here!

Thank you all so much for giving us this opportunity tonight. It warms my heart to see so many people backing the organization we have been so blessed to be part of.
Over a 1 year period from September 2009 to September 2010, we spent 155 days as temporary residents of the Ronald McDonald House. Our daughter, at 4 years old, suffered a massive stroke just months after finding out she had a terminal heart defect. During her 21 days at Phoenix Childrens Hospital, the house on campus was home. It was a place to get quality rest, a much needed relaxing shower and a free delicious meal. Not to mention the comraderie among other aching parents. Above all, it was a place for us to spend time with our 2 year old son who was too young to understand what was happening. He still remembers playing on the playground and the Ronald statue sitting on the bench outside. Best of all, he remembers the rule of 'no drinks in the rooms'!
Afters Gabriella's discharge, we visited the house monthly, taking food, personal care items and household items we collected from friends and family. We were waiting on the heart transplant list, and could think of nothing better to do as we waited than to help those who had helped us through her stroke.
On May 17, 2010, my kids and I were getting dressed and heading to take a load of paper towels, toilet paper and personal items to the House in response to a Twitter update stating they were in need of those items. We never made the delivery because my daughters heart call had finally came. After a successful heart transplant, we spent over 4 months as a proud Ronald McDonald House family. We were active within the house, meeting families and even made a house meal. I feel like we just cannot do enough in repayment for all the house has meant to us. I can't picture out journey without all the house gave to us. My daughter not only survived, but thrived, and I fully believe it was because of the recovery period and quality of love at the House.
Tonight is beautiful, complete with fancy dresses and tuxedos and glamorous prize. But in my heart I stand here for the mom in sweatpants looking for a quick snack or moment of computer time before returning to her child in the hospital. I stand here for the siblings of sick babies and kids and that little feeling of normal the house gives them. I stand here for the fathers who have to work but have a place to be with his family on weekends. I say thank you to the house staff, volunteers, and YOU who's support makes this organization work and who make having an ill child that much easier through love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of all Ronald McDonald House families.
So I think it went well! I had a ton of people come up and thank us afterwards, but I felt undeserving of the thanks. It was my job, and one I wouldn't have traded the opportunity to have!

Here are some pictures of the kiddos and a few things from the night! And you HAVE to check out my little guy bustin' the moves at the dance party afterwards.... those kids had their dancing shoes on for sure!


tootermagoo said...

What a great event! And I have to say...your kids have some great MOVES! :) Those videos were so cute!

Anonymous said...

I just read your speech, and it was AMAZING. I'm a 14 year old girl, in tears. Your family has been through so much in such a short period of time, and I'm thankful to be able to read about how much you guys have and still are growing as a family. How Gabriella is thriving with her new heart, and watching how adorable PJ is out on the dance floor. :]

Anonymous said...

Your family is such an inspiration. Thank you for all you do for the RMH house. I wish our family was close enough to return the favor of dinner or something to RMH. We were there from March 6, 2009 to April 23, 2009. Our daughters were born premature and well the rest is history.....our story is on the RMH site also (Canzady and Presley); if you get a chance to read it.... Thanks for all that you are doing.
Jennifer L.