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Twice the Love

The Ronald McDonald House® provides a home-awayfrom-home for families when their child is braving serious illness or injury in the hospital. Since March 1988, our Ronald McDonald House near Cox South has helped more than 8,400 families. Our second Ronald McDonald House, located inside Mercy Children’s Hospital, has benefitted 345 families since opening in November 2012. With two Ronald McDonald Houses, everything in our world has doubled this year—the children, the families, the need, the hope, the heartache and the love. Each Ronald McDonald House is much more than a place for parents to wait out the terrifying scenario of a sick or injured child—it is a place to call home, a sanctuary of support for families experiencing worry, relief, despair and hope. A place where a toddler can chase butterflies in the backyard and just be a kid, where a mother can rest easy knowing she’s close to her healing child, where a father can seek support and community, where families can gather for a warm home-cooked meal. Where everyone endures the worry, and everyone shares great hope. This year, we celebrate that our two Ronald McDonald Houses are able to help twice the number of families, allowing them to support the healing of twice the number of seriously ill or injured children. During this time of growing need, we invite you to help, too. Thank you for sharing your gift of hope with twice the families and twice the children.

2 Twice as many tears to wipe away.

The Lawson Family Expecting twins, Julie Lawson came to the Ronald McDonald House on May 8, 2013, after spending four weeks in the Perinatal ICU. With her husband serving in the military and unable to come home until right before the twins were due, Julie craved time with her two-year old son, Garrett. Her hospital room prohibited visitors, which made that precious time with Garrett rare. With open arms, the Ronald McDonald House near Cox South welcomed Julie, along with her mother and son. Julie hoped to reach 34 weeks before her twins’ arrival. The twins had other plans. Four days later, Julie was readmitted into the hospital. Her twins, Emmett and Makenna, arrived on May 12, 2013, with complications that would require hospital care for weeks to come. Makenna weighed only 2 lbs 14 oz, and her brother Emmett was 3 lbs 1 oz. They shared a length of 15 ½ inches, as well as respiratory distress, heart-rate concerns, and complications that required their meals to be administered through a feeding tube. Though the situation was frightening and full of uncertainty, Julie was thankful for the Ronald McDonald House. Staying close to her infant children saved time, money, worry, and gave Julie a place to call home for ten weeks while Emmett and Makenna grew stronger. “We live over an hour away in Bradleyville, Missouri, so staying at the Ronald McDonald House made everything so much easier,” Julie said. In addition to the support of other mothers facing similar circumstances, Julie’s twoyear old son had a place to play. Today, Emmett and Makenna are healthy and energetic, showing no signs of heart complication. The Lawson family remains wholly grateful to the Ronald McDonald House for providing a home near Cox South, while they waited for Makenna and Emmett to come home. “I never had to worry about having a place to stay or food to eat,” Julie said. “We always felt safe.”

2 Twice as many hands to hold.

The Whitaker Family

Addilyn and Josie Whitaker were born eight weeks early on November 20, 2012, weighing a combined eight pounds, thirteen ounces. While parents Bill and Melissa Whitaker were prepared for the twins’ early arrival, stocking their nursery with twice the diapers and outfits, they didn’t anticipate the problems and heartache they would encounter at the beginning of Addilyn and Josie’s lives. After her two beautiful baby girls were born, Melissa soon learned that Addilyn and Josie would need to stay in the NICU until their due date. Eight weeks is an eternity for a new mom wanting to feed and care for her babies; Melissa had no idea what she was going to do. “Nothing can prepare you for the day you leave the hospital without your babies,” said Melissa. She quickly requested a room at the Ronald McDonald House in Mercy Children’s Hospital. The Whitakers were the tenth family to stay at the new Ronald McDonald House inside Mercy Children’s Hospital. Melissa and Bill were grateful to be staying inside the hospital, not worrying about the cold, rain, or snow that plagued the outside world. Melissa said “It was a blessing to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House” because of the friendly staff that genuinely cared for each family and the opportunity to share experiences with other families who were going through the same thing. The Whitakers and other families staying at the Ronald McDonald House shared home-cooked meals prepared by volunteers, mourned setbacks about their loved ones together, and hoped together that their seriously ill or injured children would be healthy soon. Bill and Melissa shared their wish that their babies would be healthy enough by Christmas to finally go home to Bolivar, Missouri. The Whitaker family stayed for almost four weeks at the Ronald McDonald House. They were blessed with a genuine holiday miracle, taking Addilyn and Josie home for the first time just days before Christmas. Melissa said she “couldn’t have asked for a better experience under those circumstances. It was truly a blessing to have the opportunity to stay so close to the girls as they were preparing to come home.” Now it’s been nine months since Melissa and Bill stayed at the Ronald McDonald House inside Mercy Children’s Hospital, and Addilyn and Josie have almost closed the gap on height and weight, going from premature to full term measurements. Melissa and Bill still keep in touch with families they met at the Ronald McDonald House. They’ll never forget how much the Ronald McDonald House means to them, both then and now.

2 Twice as many hugs to give.

Everything has doubled. Twice as many parents, worried about tomorrow. Twice as many hands to hold. Twice as many hugs to give. Twice as many tears to wipe away. Twice as many fear-filled eyes. Twice as many children who need their families. A study published by the American Psychological Association reaffirms what parents and children have known for decades. Family-centered care is invaluable to a child’s recovery. Children feel less alone, less afraid, when family is near, which can help them recover. Though family-centered care has proven to help children and families, many hospitals have been slow to incorporate this invaluable service. Parents are encouraged and expected to participate in their child’s recovery, but concerns about money, food, lodging, and caring for other children can get in the way. This is the “why” of the Ronald McDonald House. Why we do what we do. The need is there—always—and now it’s doubled. Children need their parents, and parents need to focus on their child. Everything else should be secondary. We want to give families the opportunity to focus on what’s most important. Kids need their families. Whether it’s a hug from Mom or a high-five from Dad, research proves that children who get time with their families get better faster. Thanks to your amazing generosity, families are able to focus on what’s important: their seriously ill or injured child. Our two Ronald McDonald Houses couldn’t exist without you. Everything has doubled this year, including our gratitude. Thank you so much for giving the gift of hope to twice the families and twice the children.

I want to help. Name:______________________________________________________________________ Address:_____________________________________________________________________ City:______________________________________ State:________ Zip:_________________ If name(s) on recognition materials is to appear differently from above, please print: _____________________________________________________________ I wish to Share-a-Night and have enclosed a check for the time period indicated:

One Month (Guardian Angel) ................................... $1,290 $_____________

One Week (Guiding Angel) .......................................... $301 $_____________

One Night (Cherub) ......................................................$43 $_____________

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Detach, fold and mail with your donation in the enclosed envelope today!

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Near Cox South

at Mercy Children’s Hospital Special thanks to these people who donated their time and talents to make this mailing possible: Copywriting & Design ©2013: ADsmith Marketing & Advertising Photography: Dan Rockafellow Photography Printing & Mailing: McCann Printing Assembly: Ronald McDonald House Volunteers The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald’s Corporation: Ronald McDonald House name and logo; Ronald McDonald House Charities name and logo; the House that Love Built.

"Twice the Love" Campaign  

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