Sara Whiteaker, proud mother of three, spreads her time between her newborn, Jackson, receiving treatment at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois®, and her two older children back home. While her husband, Jason, works nights, she drives up to three hours round-trip each day to take care of her family. Her stay at RMH will help bridge the gap between her home life and her son’s treatment—allowing more quality time with Jackson. To all our incredible donors, volunteers, and staff, thank you for helping us Keep Families Close®.
During his recent 70-day stay in the hospital, it was sometimes hard for 17-year-old Jonathan to rest with the continuous beeping of machines in his hospital room. Today, he moved into the Dax Wing of the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® which gives him and his father the opportunity to relax in a private suite away from the noise, even just for a bit. With enough space for his entire family, he looks forward to a holiday season filled with family and friends in the comforts of the Peoria House. And that’s all possible because of our amazing donors, volunteers, and staff. Thank you central Illinois!
We share some community news about our Grand Opening and the volunteers who helped get us there.
Ronald McDonald House is now open in Peoria
December 16, 2019
... A ribbon cutting was held Monday with members of the community and the Ronald McDonald House board of directors, local legislators and many others in attendance.
"We hope we can just turn this into volunteer support in the future... So, now we hope they find a way to come back and visit us again," said Melissa Skinner-Liberman, member of the board of directors.
Peoria community celebrates opening of Ronald McDonald House
December 16, 2019
... It took just over a year for the building to be completed, with groundbreaking back in September 2018.
The 22 rooms can be expanded – if they notice a need to help the community on a greater level, they are prepped to build 12 more....
A Pathway to Hope: The Building of Peoria’s Ronald McDonald House
December 16, 2019
... The brand-new location is roughly 40,000 square feet and is located on the corner of Spalding and Monroe in downtown Peoria. It has 22 bedrooms and will serve over 700 families annually....
Cancer survivor excited about Peoria Ronald McDonald House opening
December 13, 2019
.. Organizers say the fabric of local networks helped sew the project together. Dr. Kamlesh Macwan of Asian Indian Community Collaboration contributed time and money.
“Asian and Indian Community of Peoria wanted to give back to this community. The mission of the Ronald McDonald House and the mission of the Asian Indian community is family-centered,” said Dr. Kamlesh Macwan....
Stark County students help prepare Ronald McDonald House for opening
December 12, 2019
... Around 15 students from Stark County High School spent the day making sure it will be ready to open next week.
They lugged mattresses up stairs and into rooms and cleaned up some of the leftover construction mess.
The group organizer said they know people from Stark county who might need to sleep on some of these beds.
“It has impacted us around our community and it also teaches them to give back and being from such a small community it’s really important for them to learn how to do that,” said Kale Rouse, founder of Helmets and Heels.
Ronald McDonald House Grand Opening One Week Away
December 9, 2019
... "Right now it's really kind of a time where everything is happening at once, so things are getting finalized and cleaned up from the construction we've been doing for the last year...and all those final, finishing touches are going into place that you expect to see in the final house," said Jeremy Collins, the project manager for the architecture firm behind the project.
Collins has been on the job since it's inception--opening day marks about three years of work.
"This is an incredible opportunity, I meant to be part of this is a once in a lifetime chance, and seeing it come to life, its hard to put into words, exactly how you feel, it's awe-inspiring," added Collins....
"Probably the most unique obstacle is fitting everything they wanted into such a small site, so we're sitting on less than half an acre, and we've got a 40,000 square foot building," he said.
Collins also says maximizing space is only of the many things they achieved during the build, "We have touched everyone from the arts community to the women's club, to Keep Peoria Beautiful, everyone has come together and contributed."
Local family uses their experience at Ronald McDonald House to help plan Peoria location
December 15, 2019
... For the LaDage family, the Ronald McDonald House in Memphis, Tennessee had a huge impact on their lives, and they’ve used that experience to help plan the Peoria location.
Carson LaDage was diagnosed with brain cancer while he was then four-years-old. His treatment eventually brought his family to Memphis where they stayed at the house.
... Now, Carson is 13 and he helped make plans for the Peoria location. His time staying at the Memphis location allowed him to understand what kids need during treatment, which includes a little fun.
“Because we’ve stayed in the rooms, we knew some aspects of what’s important, what’s needed, and what wasn’t, but also for the game room, because it was so important to his stay in Memphis,” said Darla LaDage.
Carson remembers playing with his friends and enjoying their time in the game room.... The game room is fun and exciting, but an important part of a kid’s stay, reminding kids that they’re still kids, even through sickness....
Olson family shares their stories of staying at a Ronald McDonald House
December 10, 2019
... Families like the Olson's of Morton stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago while their daughter Lena undergoes treatments at Shriners.
The Olson's said the Ronald McDonald House has been a big help in keeping Lena’s brother Jack entertained – especially on the basketball court. “I like to shoot hoops!” said Jack.
“So, he thinks the Ronald McDonald House is a vacation actually,” said their mother Tricia Olson. “He likes to go to Chicago to go there to the children’s hospital."
The Olson's plan to volunteer at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House and assist families to make their stay more accommodating....
Washington students put finishing touches on Ronald McDonald House with mural
November 22, 2019
Before [the Ronald McDonald House in Peoria] opens, some local high school students worked on its interior.
These artists are from Washington Community High School; they’re painting a mural in one special room on the second floor.
That space will be for children with weak immune systems.
“We wanted to have like, color blobs, like a lava lamp would look then have fun designs for the kids to have,” said junior Felecia Gutierrez.
“It’s a really awesome experience to know that these kids will enjoy and appreciate our art,” said junior Lauren Blackburn...
EP!C hosts its first pop-up shop of the holiday season
November 22, 2019
Ep!c hosted the first of five-holiday pop-up shops to benefit artists with disabilities at the Shoppes at Grand Prairie Friday.
“We recently made 190 pieces for the Ronald McDonald house, so they picked the types the colors the style and we implemented those,” Schreck said. “So if there is something you see in the store but it’s not quite right for you, let us know and we can get something created for you”
Posted on PeoriaPublicRadio.org
By Dana Vollmer
After three years of planning and construction, Peoria's Ronald McDonald House has officially opened its doors.
The four-story building in the Medical District has 22 suites available for the families of children receiving care at any area hospital.
Each of the Peoria Ronald McDonald House's 22 suites have a different theme selected by the donors who helped fund the project.
Leaders of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois say this project means families will no longer have to question where they're going to stay, where their next meal is going to come from or how they’re going to afford it.
Julie Locke is a RMHCCI board member and founder of the DAX Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping families and children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Her son Dax passed away in 2009 from leukemia.
"What I think about the most is the impact — the impact this has had on my grieving heart personally, the impact this is going to have on our community, who are going to be the hands and feet serving these families who come in with heavy burdens," she said...
In addition to the private rooms, the Peoria House features several community spaces — like art studios, game rooms and playhouses — meant to give families a place to build friendships and offer comfort to one another.
Don Forrest, vice chair of the RMHCCI board, said the facility was designed with both privacy and fellowship in mind.
"There are going to be times when you don't want to be around other people — you want quiet and solitude, to be contemplative and to be with your family," he said. "Then there's also opportunities to have a lot of fun...."
We are getting so close and are excited to see all of the furniture and fixtures come together!
Our Grand Opening is December 16, 2019 - hope you can make it!
Thank you to the Texas Roadhouse - East Peoria, IL for donating $12,000 in gift cards to the families who will be staying at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House®! We are so grateful for this generous gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
On Friday, November 22, 2019, several Washington High School faculty and students came to the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® to hand-paint their mural in Dax's Playroom on the second floor.
We can wait to see the whole room completed!
Check out their work below:
See more at our Facebook page:
Kim Blickenstaff Generously Matches All Funds Raised at the Event
November 4, 2019 – Peoria, IL
The sold-out “Bid to Give” Art Gala for the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral over the weekend proved to be a huge success with $100,000 raised. Developer Kim Blickenstaff generously matched all funds raised at the event, bringing the grand total to $200,000. This gives Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois the funds needed to purchase all the artwork planned for the Peoria House.
“The new Peoria Ronald McDonald House is going to be a wonderful beacon of hope for families with children needing medical care,” says Kim Blickenstaff. “I’m honored to help play a part and brighten the lives of those who will be staying at the House through these works of art and the planned Art and Education Room.”
At the Art Gala on November 2, individuals, couples, families, friends and businesses selected and sponsored (or made a gift to help purchase) one or more pieces of art to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Each individual or group who purchased art for the Peoria Ronald McDonald House will be recognized for their thoughtful gift of art with a plaque displayed next to their sponsored piece.
“We are simply blown away by the generosity and support our community has shown us in making the Peoria Ronald McDonald House a reality,” said Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. “These works were chosen to create a fun, healing environment for the children, their families, and all who will care for them. A special thanks to Mr. Blickenstaff for believing in our vision of supporting programs that provide for the well-being of children and their families in Peoria.”
The new Peoria Ronald McDonald House, opening December 16, 2019, 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. For more information about how to support the project, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois, at 309-401-2525 or email@example.com.
Cookies from the Heart: Made Fresh Every Thursday!
There’s nothing more comforting than coming home to the smell of fresh baked cookies. And for Carolyn Dennis, providing those small comforts or touches from home is what it is all about. That’s why, every Thursday for the last seven years, she fires up the oven at the Springfield Ronald McDonald House® to make cookies from scratch. Some are old 4H recipes. Some are recipes she’s adapted over the years. All are looked forward to by guests… especially House favorites like her cowboy cookies and peanut butter bars.
“I started down at the House after I moved to Springfield,” shared Carolyn. “I was retired and recently widowed and a friend of mine recommended volunteering at the House. So I went down and filled out an application. They paired me with Reba. For many years, we worked together; I did the baking and she did the cooking.”
Sound like something you’d like to do? Or maybe you’d like to help us pay-it-forward in another way? We love our volunteers! So, here’s what you need to do to help out. Head over to our website and sign up to be our Guest Chef or download our volunteer application and tell us what you’d like to do. Simple as that! And yes, groups are welcome, too!