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Be Part of “The Summer of Hope!”

From June 21 to September 23, give a donation of ANY amount and we’ll include your name on the HOPE WALL. This wall will be located on the main floor of the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House® and will be a prominent feature of the House for years to come.

This summer, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois is offering an exciting opportunity for families and businesses to give back and help support the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House®.

Here’s how it works: From June 21 to September 23, give a donation of ANY amount and we’ll include your name on the HOPE WALL. This wall will be located on the main floor of the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House® and will be a prominent feature of the House for years to come.

Be part of “THE SUMMER OF HOPE.” Give online today or mail your donation to Peoria Ronald McDonald House, PO Box 5354, Peoria, IL 61601.

*Rendering above subject to change.  

Art Gala announced for Peoria Ronald McDonald House®!

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois will hold it's first ever art gala in November to help raise funds needed to complete the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House®.

Art Gala - Peoria Ronald McDonald House

PEORIA, IL —  Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois is proud to announce it’s first ever Art Gala, which will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois. The “Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois Art Gala” will feature the original work of central Illinois artists which has been specifically selected for our new Peoria Ronald McDonald House®. Guests at the event will have the fun of selecting one or more works of art for placement in the new home. Individuals, collective groups of friends and families, organizations and businesses will be able to choose which piece(s) they want to sponsor. Artists may submit up to 10 works for consideration., and can do so at: https://artist.callforentry.org/festivals_unique_info.php?ID=6729

“We recognize the arts as an important component to a peaceful environment that helps nurture our guests and supports their healing and well-being,” states Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. “This community shares in our belief and has come together in support of this event for the benefit of our children and their families. Members of Farnsworth Group, our designers, local artists, arts advocates, friends of our charity and community leaders helped make this a reality.”

“The Ronald McDonald House Charities Art Gala is a win-win-win situation—the guests who stay at the house will enjoy beautiful artwork, the donors will have the great feeling of helping others (as well as a tax write off), and artists will be rewarded for their talent," said Doug Leunig. "We applaud RMHC for their progressive approach in healthcare and support of local artists," said Eileen Leunig.

Questions regarding the Art Gala can be directed to Kelly Thompson, C.E.O. at (309) 401-2525 or kt@rmhc-centralillinois.org.

kiss

The Ronald McDonald House provides the necessities of home for families with a seriously ill child receiving treatment. At RMHCCI, families can stay together and find strength in numbers during a critical time. RMHCCI provides families with a private bed and bath, meals, laundry, parking and more in order to ease the stress of a difficult time in their lives. Families stay at the House at no charge to them, regardless of their length of stay at the House. The Springfield House currently serves over 400 families each year, and the Peoria House, estimated to open in late 2019 is estimated to serve 700 families annually. RMHCCI depends on the generous support of the community, especially through the Give a Little Love campaign. Support from the community is essential to keep the house running smoothly for their families.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois and ways you can help, please visit www.rmhc-centralillinois.org

East Peoria High School presents $7,500 check to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois

Students raise funds to support the continuing build of the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House®!

PEORIA, IL — On Friday, May 24, 2019, East Peoria Community High School will present a check in the amount of $7,500 to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois in support of the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House. Media are welcome and encouraged to attend this event. The check presentation will take place at 8:00 a.m. in the lobby of the East Peoria Community High School Audtorium, located at 1401 E Washington St. in East Peoria, Illinois. Questions can be directed to Kelly Thompson at (309) 401-2525.

Throughout the week of March 18th, the East Peoria Community High School Student Council raised $7,500 for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Illinois. The week consisted of dress up days, special lunch options provided by local businesses, EP teams and clubs, and an activity day where students could watch movies, do arts and crafts or play games by “Buying Out” of their normally scheduled classes. The week culminated with an assembly on Friday where students had the opportunity to pie teacher volunteers in the face if their ticket they had purchased earlier in the week was drawn.

“It is always a lot of work, but so very worth it to know we are helping such wonderful programs” said Jenny Lamb, one of the Student Council sponsors.

The students are excited to continue to make the event bigger and better next year.

“At EPCHS, the Buyout is our way of giving back. These actions provide students with the opportunity to become active members of the East Peoria community and leave a positive impact on our society” said Sarah Lahood.

The Ronald McDonald House provides the necessities of home for families with a seriously ill child receiving treatment. At RMHCCI, families can stay together and find strength in numbers during a critical time. RMHCCI provides families with a private bed and bath, meals, laundry, parking and more in order to ease the stress of a difficult time in their lives. Families stay at the House at no charge to them, regardless of their length of stay at the House. The Springfield House currently serves over 400 families each year, and the Peoria House, estimated to open in late 2019 is estimated to serve 700 families annually. RMHCCI depends on the generous support of the community, especially through the Give a Little Love campaign. Support from the community is essential to keep the house running smoothly for their families.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois and ways you can help, please visit www.rmhc-centralillinois.org

Sign the Beam and Witness Donor Support in Action at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® Construction Site

RMHCCI Opens its “Raise Those Radiant Beams” Event to All

April 29, 2019 – Peoria, IL  

Two bright yellow beams are set to take up residence at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® this May as the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) celebrates the progress and support the new Peoria RMH has received so far. To commemorate this milestone, RMHCCI will be hosting its much anticipated “Raise Those Radiant Beams” event with major donors and the public on Monday, May 6, 2019. This event will take place at the Peoria RMH construction site, located at the corner of Spalding Avenue and NE Monroe Street.

Major donors are invited to come out and sign the beam from 10:30-11:00 a.m., then the event will be opened to the public from 11:00-11:30 a.m. where everyone can come out and show their support for the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House. A $10 donation is suggested for anyone that would like to sign the beam.

River City Construction will raise the newly signed beam into place at 11:30 a.m., capping off the structure to the main entryway to the Peoria Ronald McDonald House.

Kids receiving care at area hospitals will also get a chance to sign a second entrance beam on Friday, May 10 at 11:00 a.m. in celebration of Mother’s Day and the families the Peoria RMH will be serving. On this day, River City Construction will be transporting a 10ft x 8ft beam to the lobby at the OSF Healthcare Children’s Hospital of Illinois where children receiving care will have a chance to sign the beam.

The new Peoria RMH will serve over 700 families annually and provide hundreds of volunteer opportunities for the community. The capital campaign for the Peoria Ronald McDonald House is still going strong with many individual giving and Adopt-the-House sponsorship opportunities still available.

To learn more about how you can help our Peoria and Springfield Ronald McDonald Houses in 2019, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois, at 309-401-2525 or kt@rmhc-centralillinois.org. Together, we can make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of sick children and their families!

Give a Little Love®campaign at McDonald’s® Restaurants aims to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois

Area restaurants provide support to children and families served through local Ronald McDonald House®

CENTRAL ILLINOIS - (January 25, 2019)—McDonald’s® Restaurants of Central Illinois and its local owner-operators will be providing support to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) from Friday, January 25, 2019 through Sunday, February 17, 2019 through the annual Give a Little Love® campaign.

To “Give a Little Love,” customers can donate $1 or more at over 90 participating McDonald’s restaurants throughout central Illinois. Customers who make a donation will have their names displayed on a paper heart in the restaurant. One hundred percent of the proceeds will stay local and benefit the families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. In 2018, more than $150,000 was raised during the Give a Little Love promotion.

The Ronald McDonald House provides the necessities of home for families with a seriously ill child receiving treatment. At RMHCCI, families can stay together and find strength in numbers during a critical time. RMHCCI provides families with a private bed and bath, meals, laundry, parking and more in order to ease the stress of a difficult time in their lives. Families stay at the House at no charge to them, regardless of their length of stay at the House. The Springfield House currently serves over 400 families each year, and the Peoria House, estimated to open in late 2019 is estimated to serve 700 families annually. RMHCCI depends on the generous support of the community, especially through the Give a Little Love campaign. Support from the community is essential to keep the house running smoothly for their families.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois and ways you can help, please visit www.rmhc-centralillinois.org

Peoria Ronald McDonald House® Pathway to Hope Gala a Success

Pathway to Hope Bricks Still Available to Purchase.

A Pathway to Hope

November 27, 2018 – Peoria, IL – On November 9, The DAX Foundation hosted a Gala to raise funds for the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House. Special Guest Speaker Charles Tillman helped facilitate the program, signed autographs and took pictures with guests. The event raised over $100,000 and was the official kick-off of the Pathway to Hope brick fundraiser.

Pathway to Hope allows supporters of the Ronald McDonald House the opportunity to purchase a personalized brick to be used to pave the entrance of the new Peoria House. Bricks will continue to be available for purchase until they are all sold. There are two brick choices available: 8 X 8 brick: can be personalized with either your company logo or 3 lines of 16 characters; $2,500 Donation, and 4 X 8 brick: can be personalized with 3 lines of 16 characters; $500 Donation.

bricks

Peoria’s reputation for highly specialized and effective pediatric care is a source of pride for our region. As the reputation of the Peoria downtown medical district grows, so does the need for the programs and services Ronald McDonald House offers. Approximately $1.5M is left to raise in the ongoing capital campaign funding the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House. The Pathway to Hope fundraiser is an excellent way to show your support.

To learn more about the Pathway to Hope Brick Fundraiser, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois (RMHCCI), at 309-401-2525 or kt@rmhc-centralillinois.org or Julie Locke, Founder of The DAX Foundation and RMHCCI Board of Directors at 309-360-9168 or julie@thedaxfoundation.org or purchase your brick online at https://rmhc-centralillinois.org/rmhcci-news/a-pathway-to-hope/.

A Pathway to Hope

Buy a Brick to Help Fund the Peoria Ronald McDonald House.

Help us pave the way for the new Ronald McDonald House by purchasing a brick to be used at the entrance of the new Peoria House... and provide children and families in need a Pathway to Hope!

Peoria's reputation for highly specialized and effective pediatric care is a source of pride for our region. As the reputation of the Peoria downtown medical district grows, so does the need for the programs and services Ronald McDonald House offers.

We have experienced ground-breaking support thus far toward our overall goal of our over 7 million-dollar goal. However, the operating expense of the new Peoria House will be an ongoing fundraising need of approximately $1,000,000 each year.

There are two choices available:

8 X 8 brick: can be personalized with either your company logo or 6 lines of 16 characters; $2,500 Donation

4 X 8 brick: can be personalized with 3 lines of 16 characters; $500 Donation

Your generous donation will help complete the brand new 40,000 square-foot Ronald McDonald House coming to Peoria and support ongoing operational expenses!

Frequency Asked Questions

How do I purchase a brick?

You can purchase a brick online. Choose the size of brick you wish to purchase (8x8 or 4x8), enter your personal or company information, create your personalized message, and enter the payment information.

You may also download and fill out this form. Please mail the completed form and payment information to:

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois (RMHCCI)
P.O. Box 5354
Peoria, IL 61601

How will you use the money I am donating for the brick purchase?

All money donated and collected through the “Pathway to Hope Brick Campaign for Peoria Ronald McDonald House®” will be used to help complete the brand new 40,000 square-foot Ronald McDonald House and support its ongoing operational expenses! The bricks will be used at the entrance of the new Peoria Ronald McDonald House to create a beautiful pathway that welcomes families and provides a visual reminder that they are not alone in this journey.

Are spaces included in the character limits?

Spaces are included in your character limits. Please be aware that due to space limitations on the brick 16 characters is the max allowed for each line. If you go over this limit, you will be asked to revise your personalized message.

For an 8x8 brick, you are allowed to personalize it with 6 lines of 16 characters each.
For a 4x8 brick, you are allowed 3 lines of 16 characters each.

RMHCCI has the right to approve all engraving of bricks prior to installation.

Can I add graphics or emojis to the brick?

Because space is limited, graphics, emojis, or company logos are not an option on the smaller brick (4x8). You can add your company logo to the larger brick (8x8) in place of text, provided that it fits within the size restraints.If you wish to add a logo or design to the larger 8x8 brick, it must be provided in Vector format. The size/layout of the graphic will determine if there is any additional space for 2-3 lines of characters.  We can advise you of those details after you submit your graphics in Vector format.

Is there a deadline to purchase a brick?

There is no deadline to purchase a brick. We will continue to offer bricks for donations until the “Pathway to Hope” is fully-funded by sponsors.

Can I buy a brick as a gift for someone else?

Absolutely!  You can purchase a gift for someone else, your company, in memory of a loved one and more. Bricks can even be purchased anonymously. Just make sure you select that option when filling out your brick donation form.

Can I decide where my brick will go on the Pathway to Hope?

Unfortunately, no. Bricks will be randomly placed in the Pathway to Hope, according to the design.

LaDage Family

In 2011, the last day of school, Darla and Todd LaDage took four-year-old Carson to the doctor because he had been showing some minor neurological symptoms. He was limping off and on and stuttering on occasion. The doctor ordered an MRI, which showed Carson had a brain tumor in the brainstem.

Just days after finding the tumor, Carson’s doctors performed brain surgery.

The surgery didn’t quite go as planned. Instead of removing the entire tumor, the doctors could only do a biopsy to explore the tumor more. They gave Carson about a week to recover before putting in a port and starting chemotherapy. The chemotherapy continued for a year. Traditionally, that is where the story would end as the type of tumor Carson has typically only requires one year of treatment. Carson’s was still growing.

Keeping Carson & Darla close to the care and resources they need

Carson was sent to Memphis for radiation treatment. This was the first time they experienced the Ronald McDonald House® (RMH) and realized the value of what the House offers families like theirs.

Carson and Darla lived at Memphis RMH for nine weeks while he received treatments. Carson’s dad Todd, sister Emma and brother Riley would all come to visit during this time –they were thankful the Ronald McDonald House was able to accommodate their family. Darla was also able to bond with other families going through similar situations while she was at the RMH.

“The friendships you make at RMH are different,” shares Darla. “When you meet people who really are going through the exact same thing, the bond is instantaneous. One of my closest friends now is someone that we lived with in 2012 at RMH. We joke that our friendship is built on butter because we started talking in the community kitchen when she asked to borrow a stick of butter. This friendship and having that community where everybody does understand, it really does help you survive it.”

Seven years of treatment and counting

A year and a half after receiving radiation, they discovered Carson’s tumor was growing again. Carson was sent back to Memphis for five weeks to begin a two-year clinical trial, and they stayed at the Memphis RMH again.

“The clinical trial he’s on, which is a chemotherapy pill taken at home, morning and night, is the only treatment that has shrunk the tumor… and it shrunk it by half,” shares Darla. “Originally, we were told that he would be on the trial for two years, but we are approaching the four-year mark and the tumor remains stable… he’s doing great!”

Today, seven years after that initial diagnosis, Darla and Carson still make occasional short visits to Memphis to meet with Carson’s doctors. While they don’t stay at the Memphis RMH on these visits, they always make time to stop and see the house manager, whom they built a special relationship with while they stayed there.

“We always visit the House Manager, and I play cards with her,” shares Carson. “She keeps them in her desk and never uses them until we come to see her.”

The security of a place to stay when everything else is uncertain

The Memphis RMH provided the LaDages with a home to keep them close to the hospital. But it was more than a place to sleep and cook a meal. It was a sense of security when everything else was uncertain.

“The friendships we made at the House got us through some really difficult days,” shares Darla. “When nobody else can understand, there's someone you can call that does understand because they've lived through it. Then there’s the financial aspect of how the House helped us. This is huge too, as my husband was in school getting his Master's. He wasn't working during the time we were down at the Memphis RMH. It would have been incredibly difficult if we had to choose between going to treat our child, and not going because we didn't have a place to live or would have had to pay for it.”

Giving back

In addition to their involvement with the Peoria Ronald McDonald House build, the LaDage family also helps give back to their community and the organizations that have helped them along the way. One of those efforts is Carson’s Lemonade Raid which started in 2012.

“Carson turned to his mom while he was in the kitchen one day and said 'hey, I'd like to have a lemonade stand to raise money so kids like me can get better'," said Todd. And it took off from there. This year, they crossed the $100,000 mark and they plan to continue fundraising.

The Simmons Family

Pictured are Christine and Adam Simmons with their daughter Harper and a photo of their son Bowden. The Simmons Family are RMHCCI Ambassadors & Spokespersons for the Peoria House Build.

In February 2016, while living in the suburbs of Chicago, life seemed perfect for the Simmons family. They had two beautiful babies – Harper (their 1 ½ year old sassy baby girl) and Bowden (their sweet son who was only three months old). Then Bowden started having some common cold symptoms that sent them back and forth to the pediatrician. Over the course of 4 days, things turned progressively worse. When they noticed that his breathing was becoming more labored, their pediatrician recommended they take Bowden to the ER. From there, they were quickly transferred to Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago.

Kindness Always, Even in the Toughest Journeys

Bowden was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disorder called Hemophagocytic Lympho Histiocytosis, also known as HLH. A quick way of explaining HLH is that it’s an overactive immune disorder where your white blood cells overreact to illnesses. They don’t stop at attacking the virus – they go after your organs and everything else, too. Since HLH is treated like cancer, Bowden was immediately started on a regimen of chemotherapy and high dose steroids. The Simmons also moved into the Ronald McDonald House at Lurie’s, just three blocks away from the hospital so they could stay close to Bowden and the care he needed.

About 4 months into treatment, while Bowden was preparing for a Bone Marrow Transplant, the Simmons were dealt more crushing news. Bowden also had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. At the time, Bowden was the only case in the world to have both HLH and Leukemia. It also meant that the Bone Marrow Transplant couldn’t be done at that time. They had to start treatment over. He responded beautifully again – even earning himself a stay with his family at the Ronald McDonald House. They went to Navy Pier, got his caricature done, and then that night… he spiked a fever. They were back in the ER by 7 am the next morning to learn that Bowden had a virus and he was readmitted. Shortly after being readmitted as a patient, Bowden relapsed, and another aggressive regimen was started, yet his condition continued to get worse. In the early morning hours of August 8, 2016, Bowden passed away with Adam and Christine by his side.

Keeping Our Family Close

Throughout Bowden’s 6-month fight, and Adam and Christine’s fight to save him, they lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Lurie. This not only got them off the chair and couch in the hospital room, but they were able to stay close to Bowden and spend time with their young daughter Harper who had been staying in Peoria, IL with family.

“One of the hardest things about being in the hospital those four months was being away from Harper,” says Adam. “She was and still is the apple of my eye – as was Bowden – but, being separated from her at a young age, it crushed both of us. Her godparents would bring her up every week to the House – even if it was just a couple hours.”

“She was rarely allowed in the hospital to visit her little brother,” continued Christine. “The House in Chicago is where she came to know where we lived and where her home was. She loved the playroom, and the cookies... she really, really loved the cookies!”

Throughout the entire journey with Bowden, Adam and Christine found they could count on the Ronald McDonald House. The staff and other families became like family to them, they got to know one another and enjoyed the time away to talk and get refreshed. Adam was even able to use the House as his remote office.

The Value Behind the Ronald McDonald House

"It's so hard to take care of a little kid. It's hard. It's taxing. Taking care of Harper in our own home, that's taxing but to try to take care of a child away from your home, and for an extended period of time, it's just a mental and physical drain," said Adam. "Until you've done it, you just don't understand," he added.

"Having the House kind of relieves that pressure and gives you a place to be in a normal kind of situation with your family," Adam said. "Then there's the financial aspect," he added. Adam was very lucky to have a boss that supported him and let him work remotely with a flexible schedule. "The House had a number of areas where I could work so we did not have to take FMLA, which relieved a tremendous amount of the financial burden and stress. I could just focus on Bowden and Christine and Harper. It's just an amazing charity. I just think the world of it," Adam stated.

On to their “Now What”

“The reason we’re supporting the Ronald McDonald House as a spokes family is that, and I think both of us feel this way, so this happened to us… what do we do now?” shared Christine. “We have to do something. Sadly, unfairly, our children, nieces and nephews, grandkids, brothers and sisters… they get sick, just like Bowden did. While we are blessed to have a wonderful children's hospital in Peoria, we as their loved ones need a place to call home, a place that will help us help them.”

“Peoria is really becoming a medical hub, at least in terms of the OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois,” says Adam. “I recently read a statistic that 90% of the world’s top children’s hospitals have Ronald McDonald Houses attached to them in some capacity. Clearly, we have one of those hospitals. We’re so very blessed to have had the House we did and are very passionate about bringing this to Peoria.”

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