RMHC Spring 2024 Newsletter

Page 1

From Our House to YOURS

The Pellenwessel Family

15 Nights

Staying Close to Addi

RMHC was a home away from home

In November of 2022, Cali and David Pellenwessel of Minot were gearing up for the birth of their first child: a daughter they would name Addi. Cali had a healthy, full-term pregnancy and the family expected an uncomplicated delivery. Unfortunately, little Addi did not tolerate labor and was delivered by emergency C-Section.

“If it were just a bed, that would have been enough, but it was so much more.”

Cali Pellenwessel

Addi was born without a pulse and underwent 12 minutes of CPR before being stabilized. Little Addi experienced a lack of oxygen to her brain during birth, called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or HIE. She would need to undergo cooling therapy to help her brain heal from the trauma, a procedure not offered at their local hospital.

Just hours after birth, she was airlifted to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo. Packed with a medical team prepared to begin cooling therapy during the flight, there was no room for Addi’s dad, David to ride along. He would make a worrisome drive to Fargo, while leaving Cali behind to recover from her major surgery. On the way to Fargo, David tried to figure out where he and his wife would stay while Addi underwent treatment. Luckily, a social worker at Sanford mentioned RMHC.

When Cali joined her husband and baby the next day, she was unsure what to expect from RMHC.

“When my husband first called me to tell me he had a room for us at the ‘Ronald McDonald House,’ I pictured a single room in a literal house, with a whole bunch of strangers,” Cali said. “While that would have been appreciated still, the thought was not overly appealing to me as a brand-new mom, healing from a c-section and processing a whole lot of trauma.”

Cali remembers the sweet gift waiting for them when they checked into RMHC.

“When we walked in, the first thing I saw was a teddy bear and a tie blanket with a little note on the bed. I immediately burst into tears,” Cali said. “This was the first gift we’d received that made it feel like we

on pg. 2
Continued
STORY: APRIL 2024
FAMILY

had actually had a baby. Our birth was not what we imagined, and it was the first time David and I had time or privacy to process the emotions from the previous 48 hours.”

Addi would go on to spend 17 days in the NICU with Cali and David calling RMHC home while they cheered her on.

“If it were just a bed, that would have been enough, but it was so much more,” Cali said, reflecting on their time at RMHC.

For the Pellenwessel family, staying close to their daughter meant the world to them. RMHC was a place for them to heal, gain support, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and feel a sense of community during difficult times.

“We were able to be way more present at the hospital because of the proximity of the Ronald McDonald House. Eating, doing laundry, etc., was quick and convenient, which allowed us to be at the hospital all day, read bedtime stories, and be present for every nurse visit without having to worry about traveling so far,” David said.

Addi’s doctors told Cali and David the best thing they could do for the daughter during her hospitalization (and after) was to be engaging, loving parents. RMHC made that possible.

“In order for us to be there for her at that time, we needed ourselves taken care of, and RMHC was right there for that. Staying so close to the hospital with every amenity you could ask for and more took a huge amount of stress off of our shoulders,” Cali said. “It gave us one less thing to worry about. It allowed us to focus completely on our daughter.”

RMHC not only helps parents and siblings of children undergoing treatment in Fargo, but also supports their extended family. Both Cali’s parents and David’s parents were able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their children and new granddaughter. Both sets of grandparents remarked on the fantastic amenities offered at RMHC. From the massive, well-stocked kitchen to the spacious and relaxing communal spaces, Cali’s parents and David’s parents could be at ease knowing their children and granddaughter were well cared for.

"Staying so close to the hospital with every amenity you could ask for and more took a huge amount of stress off of our shoulders.”

David’s dad Mike remembers seeing donation buckets at various McDonald’s around North Dakota, but he never really understood how RMHC impacts families until Addi’s birth. There are 23 locally owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants in our region that collect donations for RMHC of the Red River Valley, ensuring that all money donated stays local. Mike says he now donates every time he sees a bucket as a way to honor his granddaughter and help make the experience his family had at RMHC possible for others.

RMHC became a home away from home for the Pellenwessel family. “We came to Fargo with literally no plan, so having a place with a bed, a living room, a kitchen, and so much more was an incredible gift,” Cali said. “It is so evident that the RMHC staff works hard to make a ‘home’ for

families when they need it most, and we are so grateful for that.”

Cali herself was also recovering from the birth of Addi, so she wasn’t able to interact with many of the staff and volunteers at RMHC, but that didn’t mean their kindness and generosity went unnoticed.

“I was emotionally worn out and physically in a lot of pain during our time at RMHC, so I intentionally had very limited interactions with staff, volunteers, and other families,” Cali said. “I am very thankful that staff and volunteers seemed to be very understanding of that, always giving us space and never pushing us to be around for dinner, participate in activities, etc. Their care and concern for us was evident by brief interactions, smiles, the teddy bear and note left on the bed, and the incredible services and amenities that were provided to us.”

Today, Addi is a happy and healthy one-year-old. Her parents were told to expect delays, but Addi is a fighter. She is developmentally on track with children her age and no longer requires specialized care.

“Addi’s health and outcome are an incredible answer to prayer, just as the Ronald McDonald House and all of its staff, volunteers, and donors were an incredible answer to prayer for us in one of the scariest times of our lives.”

pg. 2

A NOTE FROM JILL CHRISTOPHER

CEO A NOTE FROM JILL CHRISTOPHER

While February may not be many northerners’ favorite month, it is one of mine. The reason is more than just the amazing weather we've had recently!

Every year, February is an amazing time for the mission of RMHC of the Red River Valley with two of my most treasured events of the year: Giving Hearts Day and the Sweetheart Ball.

On Giving Hearts Day my heart was full watching over 680 people and organizations donate to help fuel our mission for the year ahead.

The energy of Giving Hearts Day is infectious–the House is buzzing with volunteers thanking donors, volunteers cooking, and surprise announcements, including winning a $1000 donation boost and being chosen as the winner of the KFGO cookbook proceeds!

Just two days later, we held our biggest event of the year: the Sweetheart Ball, presented by McDonald's Restaurants of the Red River Valley! The sold-out crowd of 650 spent the night eating, bidding, and dancing in order to ensure 800+ families will be able to call our

house a home again this year. Highlights included a wonderful musical selection and an amazing live auction and giving moment. Thank you to our amazing emcees Amy Iler and JJ Gordon from “It Takes Two with Amy & JJ” on KFGO Radio. The capstone was getting to highlight the Beaton Family and their health journey with Clara. She stole the show!

We could not do what we do without the incredible generosity of our community. Thank you to our wonderful event sponsors, our matching gift donors, and all of the individuals for giving so generously. Each and every one of you is making a direct impact on the 800+ families we will serve in 2024 and the 22 families calling our house a home today. I am forever grateful.

Before I sign off, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to our amazing team here at RMHC of the Red River Valley. Our staff, volunteer committee, and other volunteers put in countless hours to make these amazing events possible, all under the thoughtful guidance of our

Development Director Jakelle Hoffmann. I am so grateful for each and every one of them for their generous support of our mission.

I have said it before and I will say it again: I have the best job in the world!

pg. 3
Our trusty lunch makers on Giving Hearts Day, Deanna and Shauna! Clara, big sister, Stella, and mom, Lana, auctioning off Clara's art piece.

RMHC of the Red River Valley

Ronald McDonald House Average Stay

10.3

Ronald McDonald House

300 VOLUNTEER PREPARED MEALS

Facilities Served

SANFORD HEALTH EATING DISORDER INSTITUTE

2023

6,270 DAYS

168 Volunteers invested a total of

5,925 HOURS

Ronald McDonald House

638

Ronald McDonald House Top Diagnoses for a total of FAMILIES FAMILIES NIGHTS

NICU CANCER EATING DISORDERS

91

Ronald McDonald Family Room at Essentia Health

Did you know…..Thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, there is no charge to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. If a family wishes to contribute toward their stay, the suggested donation is simply $20/night.

In 2023, 91% of families experienced the comforts of home while paying nothing to stay at RMHC.

PRAIRIE ST JOHNS OTHER
9 . 4 % 15 .6% 9 % 1 . 2 % 1 . 1 % 0 . 4 %
ROGER MARIS CANCER CENTER ESSENTIA HEALTH
6
RMH
YEAR IN REVIEW
pg. 4

23rd Annual Ride

Saturday June 8th , 2024

VFW, New York Mills

SAVE THE Date

Preparations are underway for the 23rd Annual RMH Ride! Join us for camping, live music, a silent auction, raffle, delicious dinner, and a scenic ride through central Minnesota. The event is proudly organized by RMH Ride, a 501c3 non-profit, with proceeds benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley.

Learn more at rmhride.com

Your participation makes a meaningful impact on families in need!

Gifts in 2023 were given in memory of and in honor of those below.

IN HONOR OF: IN MEMORY AND HONOR

IN MEMORY OF:

Abigail Heaton

Alex Blair

Claire Bohan

Dale Urbon

Mara

Matthew

Tracy Wild

Ty Gietzen

Vern Anderson

William Altringer

Wilma Flakoll

Mrs. Caspers' First Graders

Norma Peterson

Reese Scufsa

Terry and Diane Tobin

The Dean Family

The Wenaas Family

The Wolden Family

Theo Kuderling

Weston Nickle

Millie Helmick

Millie Vogt

If you made a memorial or honorarium gift in 2023 and it was omitted, misspelled, or listed incorrectly, please accept our sincere apology and notify our Development Director, Jakelle, at 701-232-3980 or jakelle@rmhcfargo.org

Warner
Weston
Schmidt
Bowman
Besette
"Chet" Claire Dickey
Lubbers
Sorenson
Santiago
Fulton
C Miller
Huseby
of the Degree of Honor Lodge
Hogan
Johnson
Rebhahn
and Orville
Johnson
Wilcox
Archer Thomas
Kiesz
Susag
Vineyard
Allen
Chadwick
Fernette Olson
Olson
Syversen
Rivers
Rommesmo
DeVries
Altringer
Link
Baker
Olderbak
Lee
Kodelka Forstner
"Spencer" Reimer II
Wayne Herman
McGregor
Scott
Baron
Brown
Roningen
Brusseau
Bjorndahl
Devi
Wold
Streed Thomas
Zehren
Garvey
Johnson
Roggenkamp
Lee
Anderson Marlys Brooks Merle Weiland Michelle Gehrke-Herwynen Mike Westby Olive Mariner Paul Bakken Phil Aune Randy Link Reuben and Ethelyn Johnsrud Richard Davis Richard Rollie Rick Carlson Riddick Mittleider Rita Becker Peet Rita Shiers Rob Mihulka Robert "Bob" Buth Rose Mary Senn Rylie McNelis Sandra Kane Friesen Sara McAllister Shaun Richard Christenson Shawn Hanson Silvee Ryan Sophia Brademeyer Steve Pavek Tanya Yaggie Thorin Perez Tiahna Hoff
Adyson Jean Knudsen Alivia Plutowski Amanda Jo Ebensteiner Basil Talley Benton Degerstrom Berniece Braaten Bill Mason Bob Wimer Bonnie
Brent
Brianna Espeseth Calen
Carter
Chase
Chester
Christopher
Clint
Cody
Cy
Cynthia
David
Deceased Members
Delaney
Dolores
Donald
Donna
Riedberger Easton
Eli
Elzie
Erik
Erik
Ernie
Erwin Hurner Esther
Ethan
Faith Westby
Franklin
Glenys Wignes Gracie
Gretchen
Helge
James
Jerod
Jerome
Jerrilyn
Jerry
Jim
Joan
John
John
Jon
Judy
Julia
Julia
Karen
Karissa
Katelyn
Kishori
Logan
Lori
Lorraine
Louise
Louise
Luke
Lyle Gudmestad Lynn
Marie
Alan and Joan Bendson
Amber and Anthony Lipetzky
Ava Berg
Bethann Crary
Bill and Jeanette Boelter
Bjorn Pederson
Blaine Wald Brandon Daniels Brayden Rolfson
Brett Person Cade and Kara Kostohryz Caleb Farnham Cameron Bolton Carly Schmidt Carson, Grant, Drew, Bentley and Ella CHS Class of 1988
Dave and Rosalie Harmon
Edgar Guajardo
Eli Marquis
Elias Schiele
Emerson Skadberg
Westby
Dellwo
Tobin
Nathan, Hannah and Halle Hoffmann
and Josey Nygaard
Bieber
Christopher
and Bev McAllister
Miller
Moquist
Gavin Labrensz Haley
Hayley
Ione
Jakelle,
Jayda Rude Jenn
Jenna
Jill
Jim
Jim
Joe and Marie Talley Joe Polejewski Jonathan, Michele, Phoebe, and Elsie
Josey Nygaard Justin Mertens Katie and Rhonda Joy Kayla Rosenkranz Laurie Parsons Lawson Nelson Leah Lashley Lee Roggenkamp
Logan Wolden Longfellow Elementary School
Lynn Motteberg
Mary and Charley Johnson
Mary Fridgen
Matthew Hoffmann
Melissa and Dan Ryan
Michelle Hoppe
Mila Heilman
Morgan Little
Nicolette Cariveau
Our Grandkids
Patrick Fellman
Patty Berntson Paxton, Ryker, and Hadley Petersen
Ryan Wasvick
Samantha Swenson Sanford NICU Staff
Scarlett Horner Shauna Wimer Shay Stevens Silvee Ryan
Steve and Sharon Miller
The Students at St Bernard's School
Trooper Austin Yancy
Vicky and Russell Schantz
Wyatt, Dani, Hope and Faith Stramer
Zane Van Cleef
pg. 5
RMH Ride

On February 10, over 650 generous hearts gathered for the 35th Annual Sweetheart Ball presented by McDonald’s Restaurants of the Red River Valley. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who joined us. Guests enjoyed the ever popular silent and live auction, competitive games of heads and tails, raffle, photobooth and live music from The Deadbeats.

The program featured updates from Board President Todd Anderson and CEO, Jill Christopher. The highlight of the evening – as always – was our feature family, sharing the impact that RMHC has had in their journey.

This year we were delighted to introduce you to the Beaton family from Grand Forks, ND. Scan the QR code below to learn more about how generous hearts have provided them with a home away from home while doctoring in Fargo.

February 8, 2025

JOIN US NEXT YEAR! pg. 6

McDonald’s Restaurants of the Red River Valley

HEART OF THE BALL SPONSOR

Beverly Boone

GOLD SPONSORS

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

Country Financial – Todd Clark Agency

Essentia Health

Fredrikson

Josef’s School of Hair, Skin, and Body

Light Consulting

Prairie Oral & Facial Surgery

R.D. Offutt Company

Your Friend Kenny Steam Cleaning

Xcel Energy

TABLE SPONSORS

Alerus

Aldevron

Amanda and Thomas Dahl

American Crystal Sugar Company

Axis Electric Bell Bank

Brady Martz & Associates

Dakota Medical Foundation

Dave & Jeanne Johnsen

Eide Bailly

First Community Credit Union

Flint Group

Foss Architecture + Interiors

Gate City Bank

Girls Group - Lifting Women Up

Hunter’s Hearth

James & Jessica Duletski

Josh Malnourie & Mikal Kenfield

Karen Skjold – Park Co., REALTORS

Marvin

Michael & Madison Quamme

NJL Properties

Prairie St. John’s

SW&L Attorneys

Swanson Cares

Wanzek

WE Ortho

pg. 7
With Sincere Gratitude to our Sponsors:
4757 AGASSIZ CROSSING FARGO, ND 58104 RMHC WISHLIST
Preemie Diapers
K-Cups (regular)
Coffee Creamer
Bottled Water
Pantry Snacks
Or any items from our wishlists! Drop off at 4757 Agassiz Crossing S Fargo, ND 58104 Target Amazon
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