Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois Announces Five New Board Members

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) is pleased to announce five new members joining the RMHCCI Board of Directors.

Justin Ball

Justin Ball, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Bradley University, has a passion for promoting access and affordability to higher education. He serves on the board of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church. Ball, born in Peoria, grew up in Canton, IL. He earned his M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University, Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies from University of Iowa. He lives with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Chloe, in Mapleton, IL.

Jawad Javed, MD, FAAP

Jawad Javed, MD, FAAP, Division Head and Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Illinois, is a Midwest native. Javed grew up in Northwest Indiana and has been a resident of the Peoria, Illinois community for the past decade. He has been involved in the education and research of pediatricians over the past decade both regionally and nationally. In addition, he sits on numerous faculty committees on scholarship, quality, research, and patient outcomes both at Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He resides in Dunlap, IL with his wife, Zohra, who is also a pediatrician in the Peoria community.

Mary Beth Miller

Mary Beth Miller, Operations Manager, HSHS St. John's Hospital, Women and Children's Center, began her career in 1985 as a staff nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit. As the operations manager she supports the leadership team in the Women and Children’s Center. She has three adult children with her late husband Scott: Eric in Denver, Allison (husband Steve and daughter Claire) in St. Louis and Meredith in Rochester, IL.

Christopher Setti

Christopher Setti, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC), is responsible for the successful development, implementation, measuring and sharing of Greater Peoria's regional economic development strategy. He has worked for the City of Peoria for twelve years, the last five of which were serving as the Assistant City Manager and Director of Economic Development. He and his wife, Eileen, have two daughters and live on the West Bluff of Peoria.

David Matthews

David Matthews is a recently retired community banker from Prophetstown in northwest Illinois. For over 30 years, Dave was Executive Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of a $600 million community bank… Matthews served for 25 years as President of a Community Foundation, helped to form an Education Foundation for the local schools and served on a number of boards and committees of various local community organizations. He and his wife, Cathy are members of Connect Church in Washington.

Read about all RMHC Central Illinois Board Members...

Help Out RMHCCI and Eat Fresh Every Tuesday

Join us every Tuesday at Northwoods Mall for our Summer Farmers Market from now to August 13 from 3 to 7 p.m.! Each week at this family-fun event, you will find farmers with their fresh produce, food trucks, vendors and kids’ activities. In the event of bad weather, the Market will be moved to Center Court at the Mall.

Volunteers are needed for handing out information about Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois and how people can get involved/help, selling raffle tickets, and collecting donations from vendors. This is also a great volunteer opportunity for you and a friend or family member to give back in a fun and simple way.

Peoria House First Responsers Hero Room

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois is building a Ronald McDonald House® in Peoria, IL that will feature 22 mini-suites for families, including a First Responders Hero Room suite! This room is uniquely designed with custom first responders’ memorabilia to encourage and inspire families whose children are using Peoria’s state of the art medical facilities. A unique feature of the hero room will be an honorary PATCH WALL DISPLAY, and we want your department's patch to be displayed!

Download the informational flyer!

Getting your department's patch displayed is easy! All you need to do is raise/donate a minimum of $200 and send us your department's personalized patch and donation! See sponsorship levels below!

To submit your donations, you can visit https://rmhc-centralillinois.org/peoria-house-first-responsers-hero-room-donation/ or mail a check and your patch to:

Attn: Julie Locke
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois
P.O. Box 5354
Peoria, IL 61601

Sponsorship Levels 

Bronze Level Sponsor $200+  Includes your department's patch displayed on the First Responders Hero Room.

Silver Level Sponsor $700+  Includes your department's patch displayed on the First Responders Hero Room and a 4x8 personalized brick on the Pathway to Hope! Your 4x8 brick can be personalized with 3 lines of 16 characters.

Gold Level Sponsor $2,700+ Includes your department's patch displayed on the First Responders Hero Room and a 8x8 personalized brick on the Pathway to Hope! Your 8x8 brick can be personilzed with either a simple logo or 6 lines of 16 characters. (limited amount of 8x8 bricks remain)

Download your Pathway to Hope brick form!


The deadline to submit your patches is October 1st, 2019 so it can be displayed when we officially open in late fall of 2019! If you have any questions please contact Julie Locke by phone at (309) 360-9168 or by email at julie@thedaxfoundation.org.

All-In Donation Day

Join us on March 21, 2019 for our first All-In Donation Day!

Join us on March 21st for our first All-In Donation Day!

We have a goal to raise $20,000 in one day for families at the House! Help support the day by spreading the word using #AllinforRonaldMcDonaldHouse and texting RONALD to 700-00 to give all day! Your donation will help families to stay close together while their child is receiving critical medical care away from home, just like the Ellis family. Read their story here and learn how the House was able to keep them close to each other and to the care their girls needed.

2018 Holiday Wishlist

We need your help to restock our House with some special items this holiday season! You can help brighten the day of a family at the House with your gift this year! See below for items needed!
Questions? Contact Brian Replogle at br@rmhc-centralillinois.org or 217-528-3314 x147

Help up restock our House for our families this Holiday season!

Dishes break, fabric stains, items wear out... We could use your help to restock the items we regularly use! Contine reading

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!

Purchase Online

Download Flyer

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.”

2018 Day of Change

2018 Day of Change

Support our families on October 15th for our 2018 Day of Change!

Day of Change is a day to highlight how small change makes a big difference! On the Day of Change we ask everyone to bring their spare change to a local McDonald’s donation box. That change helps us keep families together at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. The nickles, quarters and dimes donated at McDonald’s restaurants provide mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings a home away from home while their loved one is hospitalized

Collect your spare change today from couch cushions, your car, your wallet– anywhere you find it! On Saturday, bring it to any McDonald’s in Springfield to help support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois! Want to know how your spare change makes change? Watch the video below to learn how your support makes an impact in the lives of families in our community.


Peoria Ronald McDonald House Receives $3.3 Million Gift


Peoria Ronald McDonald House Receives $3.3 Million Gift

AbbVie Announces $100 Million Donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities

August 20, 2018 – Peoria, IL – Today, AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, announced a donation of $100 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). This donation, the largest single gift in RMHC’s history, will be used to build family-centered spaces and more than 600 new guest sleeping rooms at 32 Ronald McDonald Houses the United States. The Peoria Ronald McDonald House was selected as one of the 32 houses and will receive $3.3 million to go toward the overall $7 million build cost of the new Peoria House.

“We are extremely pleased and grateful for this gift,” said Kelly Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. “It’s wonderful to be able to announce it and celebrate with the community.”

“We would not be able to build the House here in Peoria if not for this gift and the ongoing support from our local community and corporate sponsors – Farnsworth Group, River City Construction, The Dax Foundation, CEFCU, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Marquis Energy, McDaniels Marketing and McDonald’s Owners/Operators of the central Illinois region,” stated Thompson. “Having this gift in hand means we can now move forward with our groundbreaking next month and shift our focus to the final $1.5 million needed to be raised to complete the project,” she added.

The new four-story Peoria Ronald McDonald House will be located on the corner of Spalding Avenue and NE Monroe Street and will serve over 700 families annually and provide hundreds of volunteer opportunities for the community as well as a dozen or more new jobs.

Additional information about the donation from AbbVie is available online. To learn more about the Peoria Ronald McDonald House, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois, at 309-401-2525 or kt@rmhc-centralillinois.org.


About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions. The company’s mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a supportive place for families to stay while their child is receiving medical care and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. We provide families with private bedroom and bathroom, home-cooked meals and more to help ease the stress they face during a medical crisis. For more information, visit rmhc-centralillinois.org, follow RMHCCI on Twitter (@RMHCCI) or on Facebook.

RMHC Major Donor Announcement Media Alert revised...

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