Straight from the Heart | Spring 2022

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straight from the The Road Home: Zara’s Story As adoptive parents, Nick and Eric knew their road would have a lot of ups and downs. After years of hoping, they finally received the call they had been waiting for. There was a baby girl in Phoenix and she was theirs if they wanted her. The catch? Nick and Eric lived thousands of miles away in Florida with their son Aiden. The hopeful parents also learned that the baby girl had already been in the NICU for a month after being born at only 24 weeks. They were not deterred. Within days of the call, they were on a flight to meet their daughter, Zara. “We were excited but there was also a sense of uncertainty,” Eric added. “We knew we were going to be in Arizona for a long time. So, how were we going to juggle at home with our 4-year-old and how are we going to be here with her, and work on top of that?”

memories together were shared at the House. Following 69 nights at Ronald McDonald House, Eric and Nick took Zara to her forever home in Florida. “Someday I’ll tell Zara that Ronald McDonald House was kind of a magical place. I don’t think we could have done it without this place,” Eric said. “Any little thing that you have taken off our plate has been more rewarding than anything you could imagine.” No matter the challenge, it was all worth it. “We’ve been waiting for Zara to come home even before we knew there was a Zara,” Nick shared. “The second I put my eyes on her it was done. Whatever comes, comes. I’m in love with her already,” added Eric. To the donors who make it all possible, Eric shares, “Thank you for everything. It might not seem like a lot, but it really does affect people and make a change in people’s lives.”

The answers to those questions were revealed when they were introduced to Ronald McDonald House®. “We had no idea what to expect, but we had a sense of relief when we finally saw the House,” Eric said. “We call the House our ‘home-away-fromhome’ because it really has been.” Having Ronald McDonald House drastically impacted their journey to Zara. During the day, they were able to bond with and cheer her on while she blew doctors away with her incredible progress. At night, they had a place to rest and a supportive community to lean on. After being discharged, the family’s first

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central and Northern Arizona is a welcoming “home-away-from-home” for families with children facing medical challenges, providing an atmosphere of comfort, hope and courage.

In This Issue: ∙ Kerry’s Corner ∙ Donor Spotlights ∙ Family Day-In-The-Life ∙ Show Your Stripes

Kerry’s Corner A Note From Our CEO As a mom of three, including a set of twins, I am constantly thinking about my kids. Even though they’re all off at college now, my thoughts still hover around them. Are they safe? Are they healthy? Are they fed? I’m telling you – a constant state of worry!

In this newsletter, you will get a glimpse into what a typical day looks like for the Stein family when they travel to Phoenix from Bullhead City for their daughter’s medical appointments. They have often shared with us the peace and dependability the House has provided for them.

When I think about my tendencies as a mom of three healthy children, I can’t imagine the stress the moms and dads at Ronald McDonald House are going through. Not only are they shouldering the weight of their child’s illness or injury, but they are also far from home and away from their support systems.

I am filled with gratitude knowing this is just one of the thousands of families who have benefited from the House. I am filled with gratitude because of your generosity, your commitment to our mission, and your love for the families we serve.

When they learn they must travel to the Valley for the critical medical care their children need, what are the thoughts that race into their minds? Where will we sleep? What will we eat? Who can we call for help? I am so proud that Ronald McDonald House can answer those questions and release families from some of the burdens they are facing to care for their children.

Thank you will never be enough. With gratitude,

Kerry Schulman Chief Executive Officer

Why I support Ronald McDonald House® Ronald McDonald House helps to support Arizona families during some of their most difficult times. As a leader of a locally-owned hotel, I consider supporting a neighborhood charity one of my key roles. My team and I can have a positive impact on the families who stay at the Houses through financial support and day-to-day needs. Our team thrives on being good neighbors in the place we all call home. Ronen Aviram, RMHCCNAZ Board Chair

I choose to be involved with the Ronald McDonald House because of its noble mission and the support the Houses provide to families. Being a part of the Red Shoe Society is a fulfilling way to help make a difference! Natalie Coleman, Red Shoe Society Member

A Day in the Life: The Stein Family Families come to Ronald McDonald House for many reasons and each story is unique. Learn from mom Heather what a typical visit looks like for her Bullhead City family, who has made 18 visits to the House. 3:00 pm | Time to head over to the hospital for Sadie’s first appointment. Thankfully the Ronald McDonald House is just minutes away. 5:00 pm | We are exhausted, and happy to head back to the Ronald McDonald House for dinner. The dinners the House provide always vary a lot, which helps with my picky eater. 6:30 pm | Get Sadie in her pajamas and settled in for a bedtime story and then I hook her up to all her machines and try and get some sleep.

6:20 am | I am up with my alarm, dressed, and ready to face the day and wake the rest of the house. 6:40 am | In a flurry of activity, I wake my two youngest, make breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair, dispense medications and pack up everything they need for school. 7:25 am | School drop-off, where I let teachers know, we will be out of town and the kids might be a little sad or need a little bit of extra attention. 8:00 am | Back home I pack the car with luggage, Sadie’s medical equipment, and medicines. Next, I pack the other children’s gear to stay with my parents while we head to Phoenix for appointments or procedures. 9:00 am | Drop everything off at my parent’s house, gas the car up, and finally, get on the road to Ronald McDonald House. 11:00 am | Halfway to Phoenix, we stop to stretch our legs and have a quick lunch and a restroom break. 1:00 pm | We finally arrive at Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix. Sadie says hi to all her “friends” that work there and takes several pictures with the Ronald McDonald statue, which she calls Uncle Ronald. Before we take a nap, we set up all her monitors and machines that help her breathe, and unload her medications.

6:30 am | An early start as we get ready for the day. Time for morning meds, then on to breakfast before we hit our morning appointments. We usually try and fit in several appointments each visit. 8:00 am | Head to the hospital for the rest of Sadie’s appointments. 9:30 am | With Sadie’s appointments complete, we get gas and stop for a special treat, even though the Ronald McDonald House always spoils Sadie! 11:00 am | Time to pack the car, clean our room and check out. Sadie says goodbyes to all her friends who spoil her yet again and take one last picture with Uncle Ronald. 1:00 pm | Halfway home we stop to stretch our legs, have a quick lunch, and a restroom break. 3:00 pm | We arrive home weary with just enough time to unload the car and reset Sadie’s machines up. Back in the car, we race to pick up the older kids from school and try to settle back into everyday life at home.

Show Your Stripes This May in Support of Ronald McDonald House

Get ready to flaunt your RMHC pride during our second annual Show Your Stripes campaign! Show Your Stripes is a social media campaign aimed at spreading the word about the important work done at Ronald McDonald House. By sporting your red and white stripes across Arizona, you let the community know that you stand behind the families who call the House their “home-away-from-home!” Here are three ways YOU can Show Your Stripes in May: Rock your red and white proudly by purchasing your iconic “Ronald” socks online at Rock your best red and white stripes – socks, shirts, pants, you name it - and snap a photo to share on social media. Encourage friends and family to join in on the fun when posting why you support the House by asking them to show their stripes, too!

Natalia and Gustavo’s family were guests of the House for 762 nights.

Be sure to tag us in all of your posts @RMHCPhoenix and use #ShowYourStripesAZ! Visit to download the ultimate toolkit to help celebrate Show Your Stripes all month long! There you will find fun and creative resources and activities like social media graphics, family craft projects, Zoom backgrounds, and more!

Calling All Dinnertime Heroes! Providing home-cooked meals to our guest families is an integral part of providing a “home-away-from-home.” We’re excited to invite our Dinnertime Heroes back to the dinner table at all three of our Valley Houses to welcome families “home” with a delicious meal. For all the details or to schedule your opportunity, visit

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