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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

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

MEDIA ALERT

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.

Click here to download: RMHC Major Donor Announcement Media Alert revised

 

 

Peoria Journal Star – Ronald McDonald House Planned for Peoria

Read the article here: http://www.pjstar.com/news/20180603/ronald-mcdonald-house-planned-for-peoria

PEORIA — Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois is the latest addition to the city’s medical district.

The $7 million, 4 1/2 story building with 22 bedrooms which is coming to the corner of Spalding and Monroe avenues will break ground in September.

“Construction should take about 14 months with the facility’s planned opening set for late October 2019,” said Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois.

Peoria follows Springfield as the second downstate city to feature a Ronald McDonald House, she said. Five Ronald McDonald Houses serve the Chicago area.

The Ronald McDonald House will serve any child receiving care at one of the area hospitals up to his or her 22nd birthday along with family, she said. “The stay could be one day or up to a year. The cost to the family is free,” said Thompson.

Rooms are designed suite-style to accommodate four to five people, she said. “The room becomes the family’s home while a child is receiving care,” said Thompson, who credited Gordon Honegger, former chairman of Morton Community Bank, with finding the location for the home.

“Two years ago on Memorial Day, he called me to say, ‘I have the perfect place for you.’ The key was to be close to the hospitals,” she said.

The location by the Scottish Rite Cathedral provides proximity to OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and UnityPoint Health-Methodist. “Ninety percent of the children’s hospitals in the United States are served by a Ronald McDonald House,” said Thompson, noting that both area hospitals are active supporters of the project.

The facility will have a wing designed specifically for families whose children are receiving treatment at St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, said Julie Locke of the DAX Foundation. “The DAX wing will provide five rooms on the second floor with a playroom and laundry, all on that floor,” she said.

The DAX Foundation donated $1 million to the construction of the Ronald McDonald House in Peoria, part of the $5 million already raised, said Locke.

“One of the features in the house is a gathering space on the first floor so that families get to know one another and help provide support that’s so much needed,” she said.

Thompson said that 80 percent of the fundraising goal of $7 million is expected to be raised by the time of the September ground breaking. Area McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators have pledged to raise $500,000 towards the Ronald McDonald House, she said.

Fundraising will continue once the house is up and running, said Thompson. “We want to raise $1 million a year for annual operations,” she said. Honegger, Locke and Terry Clark, a McDonald’s owner/operator in Peoria, head up a 25-person committee that’s been meeting monthly for the past year to plan the Ronald McDonald House effort locally.

“Our goal is to provide a hot meal served every day for those staying at the house. We call it ‘Meals from the Heart,’” said Thompson.

Farnsworth Group and River City Construction have been contracted to design and build the 40,000 square-foot structure.

Adopt-the-House sponsorship opportunities as well as individual giving opportunities are available and can be viewed online at www.rmhc-centralillinois.org.

Steve Tarter covers city and county government for the Journal Star. He can be reached at 686-3260 or starter@pjstar.com. Follow him at twitter@SteveTarter and facebook.com/tartersource.

 

Peoria House Facebook Announcement

A BRAND NEW 40,000 square foot Ronald McDonald House is COMING TO PEORIA, giving families with hospitalized children a...

Posted by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois on Saturday, June 2, 2018

Give a Little Love 2018

Give a Little Love Campaign

McDonald’s® Restaurants of Central Illinois Encourage Customers to “Give a Little Love” to Local Ronald McDonald House Charities®

Area restaurants provide support to families staying in the Springfield Ronald McDonald House.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (February 14, 2018)—McDonald’s® Restaurants of Central Illinois and its local Owner/Operators will be providing support to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) through the annual Give a Little Love promotion again this year.

To “Give a Little Love,” customers are asked to donate $1 or more at participating McDonald’s restaurants in central Illinois, beginning Thursday, February 1 through Friday, February 23.  One hundred percent of the proceeds will stay local and benefit families served by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois. In 2017, more than $200,000 was raised during the Give a Little Love promotion.

“It's amazing to see members in our community come together to help the families and support the work of the Ronald McDonald House, and as Owner/Operators we’re proud to be a part of that effort,” said Chris Jeffers, local McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “The House is a wonderful part of our central Illinois community, and this is an important chance for all of us to support them so that they can continue to serve the families that need them.”

The Ronald McDonald House provides the necessities of home for families with a seriously ill child receiving treatment at one of Springfield’s medical facilities. 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.  The House serves about 400 families each year.  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 families served at the House.

For additional information, contact br@rmhc-centralillinois.org.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children.  Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois provides the essentials of home for those families whose children are receiving medical treatment in Springfield. In an effort to reduce stress, keep the family intact, and enhance the quality of life for families, the House provides a caring, home-like atmosphere for its guests. For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois and ways you can help, please visit www.rmhc-centralillinois.org, follow RMHCCI on Twitter (@RMHCCI), Instagram (@rmhcci) or Facebook (Facebook.com/rmhcci).

About McDonald’s

McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees. For more information on McDonald's visit http://www.mcdonalds.com, follow us on Twitter @MyIllinoisMcD or log on at any of the 10,000 Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants.

2017 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, and call the House with any questions at (217) 528-3314!

items needed, and call the House with any questions at (217) 528-3314!

Day of Change

 Support our families on October 15th for our 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.

Labor Day Ducky Derby

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) will hold their first annual Labor Day Ducky Derby on Monday, September 4, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Knight’s Action Park.

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2017 Labor Day Ducky Derby!

Thank you to all of our sponsors of the 2017 Labor Day Ducky Derby!
Purchase your duck to participate in the first ever Labor Day Ducky Derby!

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois (RMHCCI) will hold their first annual Labor Day Ducky Derby on Monday, September 4, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Knight’s Action Park. Funds raised through donations, sponsorships and duck purchases will go towards supporting the families served at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, Illinois.

Families and individuals are invited to attend this event and watch the Ducky Derby free of charge. Ducks can be purchased online at rmhc-centralillinois.org or by mailing in the bottom portion of a tear off flyer with check. Flyers can be downloaded online at rmhc-centralillinois.org. Ducks are $5 each, with packages of 6, 13, 30 and 50 ducks available for purchase. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place winning ducks, and will be announced and awarded immediately after the race. Winners and contestants need not be present to win or participate.

A celebrity duck derby will take place at 10:45 a.m. featuring local politicians, servicemen/women, radio and news personalities, community leaders, etc. Discounted admission of $19.95 to the waterpark is offered via discount code to those who purchase a duck. The code is available at time of duck purchase(s). Waterpark tickets are not required to watch the Labor Day Ducky Derby. The waterpark will open at 10:00 a.m. the day of the derby, and several activities for children will be available, including the Fortress of Fun at Knight’s Action Park and emergency vehicles for up close viewing.

This event is presented by HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital, and is hosted by Knight’s Action Park. Knight’s Action Park is located at 1700 Recreation Dr., in Springfield Illinois. Additional information and Frequently Asked Questions are available online at rmhc-centralillinois.org/ducky-derby.

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