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Wonderful Wally’s Family Gets a Sneak Preview of the First Responder Hero Room at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House®

Chillicothe Officer Alex Bastian and his wife Kelsey will be at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House® (RMH) on September 26th at 4:00 p.m. to view the new First Responders Hero Room and talk about why they are throwing their support behind the new Ronald McDonald House.

The Bastian’s son, twenty-month-old Walter (or Wonderful Wally as called by many in the Peoria area), battles a rare metabolic and neuromuscular genetic disorder called Barth Syndrome. He was diagnosed at 8-weeks old and has spent much of his life in and out of the hospital. His most recent hospital stay was around 100 days long in Chicago where he underwent a heart transplant. During their time in Chicago, the Bastians were residents at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie’s Children’s and quickly came to view it as their “second home.”

“We’re so thankful to have the support of families like the Bastians who have experienced first-hand the relief and comfort a Ronald McDonald House can offer,” shares Julie Locke, Founder of the Dax Foundation and co-chair of the Peoria Ronald McDonald House Capital Campaign. “We also celebrate with them that Wally is finally home!”

The First Responders Room is one of five suites that are part of the new Dax Wing in the Peoria RMH. This section of the House is specifically designed for immunocompromised children. The First Responder Hero Room will not only benefit many children like Wally but is also a great tribute to the many men and women who go above and beyond to keep us all safe and protected – just like Wally’s dad and the many first responders who have supported his journey so far.

In addition to the Bastians, Chillicothe Police Chief Scott Mettille and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois Board Members will also be in attendance at the Peoria RMH. All have played an instrumental role in helping make the First Responder Hero Room a reality. Donations for the Peoria Ronald McDonald House build are still being accepted. Supporters can purchase a shirt by contacting Julie Locke at 309-360-9168 while supplies last. The cost is $20 per shirt.

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. For more information about how to support the project, please contact Kelly Thompson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois, at 217-836-3706 or kt@rmhc-centralillinois.org.

The First Responders Room is one of five suites that are part of the new Dax Wing in the Peoria RMH. The First Responder Hero Room will not only benefit many children like Wally but is also a great tribute to the many men and women who go above and beyond to keep us all safe and protected – just like Wally’s dad and the many first responders who have supported his journey so far.

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