Featured Volunteer: Libby

We are in the last few days of this year's National Volunteer Month! Today we would like to introduce you to Libby.

Libby, pictured here with her family, has been a Guest Services volunteer at the Peoria house since January 2020. After her family spent the majority of 2009 at the Memphis RMH she felt the Peoria House was a great opportunity for her to give back.

“Having a true home environment while dealing with a sick child was such a blessing for us. We loved having the opportunity to interact with other families who were going through similar situations. The meals and activities that happened in the evenings were great to keep us focused on the good in the world. I love seeing the smiles on the kids and the parents, as well, when I’m in the House. It’s fun getting to know each person better as they walk their own medical journey. It fills my heart more than I ever expected.”

Thank you Libby for all you do at the Peoria house!

Featured Volunteer: Sandra Beneventi

We are very grateful for all of our volunteers in Springfield and Peoria, like Sandra!

Sandra Beneventi has been a Guest Service Volunteer at the Peoria House since January 2020. When Sandra retired, she wanted to do some volunteering and being fortunate with healthy children and grandchildren she wanted to help other families. Her favorite part about volunteer at RMHC:

“I love that no two days are the same and I can pitch in and help whatever is needed that day. I also enjoy getting to know some of the families. I find their strength in what they are facing amazing.”

Hamida’s Kitchen caters a meal once a week for the families at the Peoria House!

Hamida’s Kitchen got involved with RMHC to carry on the Legacy of Nausheen’s late mother, Prof. Hamida Ahmand, who found pleasure in supporting family and friends undergoing medical treatment with accommodations and meals at their family house in India near a local hospital. They now cater a meal once a week for the families at the Peoria House. Nausheen says:

“Our favorite part about volunteering at RMHC is the interaction with numerous brave and smiling patient families, who in-spite of being in difficult circumstances, continue to find happiness and create positivity around them. In addition, the awesome staff of RMHC with their compassion and kindness, inspires us every time we are out there.”

Thank you to everyone who donates time to provide a meal for our families!

We need your help now more than ever to continue providing this source of comfort to those who call our Houses home at the moment. Here are two ways you can help!

  1. Make a donation online!
  2. Sign up to have a meal delivered to one of our two Ronald McDonald Houses

Nash and his Family

Ten-year-old boys are known for being mischievous and full of life. They may spend their days running outside and then immersing themselves in hours of video games on the couch before eating dinner with their families and going to bed, only to start the process all over again the next morning.

If you were to meet Nash, you would find that he is a mischievous ten-year-old who loves video games and eating dinner with his family. Unfortunately, Nash was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and is receiving treatment at the St. Jude Clinic in Peoria, which is over an hour away from his home. Thankfully, the nurses at St. Jude told Nash’s dad about Peoria Ronald McDonald House®, which is where they lived for 6 weeks while Nash received regular treatments.

Nash won the hearts of our staff and volunteers over, and he quickly became known as the House’s “resident food critic”, always chatting with our Guest Chefs while they prepared meals and sharing both his opinions and his gratitude. You could often find Nash and his dad (and mom and brother!) spending time together in the dining room, eating meals together. Nash’s dad also utilized our family kitchens in the House. He enjoys cooking and appreciated the availability of our family kitchens provide, which provided him a space to cook meals on his own schedule, whenever he wanted.

As mentioned, Nash is an avid video gamer. If he wasn’t chatting with our staff and volunteers, he could be found in our Komatsu Game Room. Quite competitive, Nash was always quick to engage other residents in a friendly competition!

Nash’s dad said, “The Ronald McDonald House has been a bright spot in our difficult journey. The staff and volunteers are positive and always eager to help out. I don’t know the donors, but I surmise they have a vision of outreach and a heart for families with children who have medical needs. Thank you!”

Over 70 Companies Make In-Kind Donations to Help Make the New Peoria Ronald McDonald House® Possible

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois is proud to recognize the 75 area companies that made donations of in-kind goods and services to the Peoria Ronald McDonald House during its build and grand opening, helping to make this new service possible in the community.

“We are so grateful to these 75 companies and wish to thank them for providing hundreds of goods and services needed for our new 40,000 sq. ft. House, from paint, to installation of headboards and artwork, to furniture and room design services. The resounding support of the businesses in this community has been incredible,” says Kelly Thompson, CEO of RMHC of Central Illinois.

Following is a list of the in-kind donors to the Peoria Ronald McDonald House:

Continue reading

Local Art Pieces Brighten Smiles and Spaces

In January, we told you about Seventeen-year-old Jonathan, the very first guest to stay at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House®. He experienced firsthand what a healing environment can do for his health. His dad recently told us that Jonathan's numbers tracked for his illness have been improving since moving into Ronald McDonald House, and that Jonathan is producing hemoglobin for the first time in three months!

Well, Jonathan has been raving about some of the incredible art located throughout the Peoria House too! He even has a favorite, “Pollinators Delight,” which features a series of honeybee macro images hanging just outside the kitchen and dining area.

Thank you to the many local and regional artists who have helped make the Peoria House a place of comfort and support for our families in need.

And thank you to the many volunteers, including some of the artists pictured here, who spent hours hanging the artwork in the House before we opened!

Pictured (left to right): Andrew Hattermann, Marie Hatterman, Mike McGarvey, Michelle Funk, Rick Melby, Linda Hattermann, Eileen Leunig, Doug Leunig.

Pictured (left to right): Andrew Hattermann, Marie Hatterman, Mike McGarvey, Michelle Funk, Rick Melby, Linda Hattermann, Eileen Leunig, Doug Leunig.

Central Illinois Proud: Peoria’s Ronald McDonald House needs donations to stock its suites, shelves

By Janie Bohlmann

PEORIA, Ill. — The Ronald McDonald House of Central Illinois needs donations for its suites.

CEO Kelly Thompson says they’re only around 65 percent stocked and would like to be 100 percent.

“Those donations are so important to create this home-like experience here, so that all of the supplies and all of the items that a family needs when they are staying with us, as long as needed, free of charge, we are just making it easy for them,” said Kelly Thompson, the CEO for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois.

The house opened in December and houses 22 families.

It’s a place where families with children receiving treatment stay...

Donations from the wishlist can be made online. The Ronald McDonald House in Peoria is registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, and Amazon.

“It’s a great way for anyone to get involved with our Ronald McDonald house here in Peoria, by donating items from our wishlist. It can be a box of wipes, Lysol wipes to items that we need every day like a supply of laundry detergent,” said Thompson...

Read the full article and watch the video at www.CentralIllinoisProud.com...

Community News About RMHC Central Illinois’ Grand Opening

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.

Read the full article and watch the video at WEEK.com...

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....

Read the full article and watch the video at HOIABC.com...

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....

Read the full article and watch the video at www.CentralIllinoisProud.com...

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....

Read the full article and watch Smyrna Palaparthi's video at www.CentralIllinoisProud.com...

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.

Read the full article at WEEK.com...

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."

Read the full article at WEEK.com...

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....

Read the full article at www.CentralIllinoisProud.com...

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....

Read the full article at WEEK.com...

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...

Read the full article at WEEK.com...
See pictures on our website...

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”

Read the full article and watch the video at www.CentralIllinoisProud.com...

PeoriaPublicRadio.org: Look Inside Peoria’s Newly-Opened Ronald McDonald House

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...."

Read the full article and see photos on PeoriaPublicRadio.org...

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