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Jana Rose & Rawley – “From the minute you walk into the House, it is the most beautiful, loving, supportive place”

Thirteen years ago, a little boy was born three months early. He came into this world weighing only two pounds, with two holes in his heart and two blood clots on each side of his brain. His name was Rawley Sisson, and his mom, Jana Rose, knew that they would have a long health journey ahead of them.

Today, Rawley continues to face medical issues, but more importantly, he is a vibrant teenager who loves Baby Yoda and playing video games. Due to his medical issues, which include heart, kidney, and lung disease, Elhers Danlos syndrome, autism, separation anxiety, Tourette syndrome, and PTSD, Rawley and Jana Rose are often in Peoria, seeing one of his 18 specialists at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

For many years, Jana Rose’s parents drove Jana Rose and Rawley back and forth from Rock Island to Peoria every week, sometimes multiple times a week. In 2019, though, while eating dinner at Obed & Isaac’s to celebrate a successful procedure of Rawley’s, Jana Rose learned about the Peoria Ronald McDonald House that would soon be opening. Now, instead of having to make the long trip back and forth multiple times, Jana Rose was able to organize and schedule pre-surgery authorization tests, surgeries, and – starting in 2020, COVID tests – together, and stay at the Peoria House from the date of pre-work until after the surgery (or surgeries) were completed and Rawley was released to go home. To say the House has changed their lives and made difficult situations easier would be an understatement.

When asked about her favorite part about staying at the Peoria House is, Jana Rose said:

“From the minute you walk into the House, it is the most beautiful, loving, supportive place – mentally, spiritually, and physically. Everyone who works there completely cares about your child and your situation and wants to be sure that you have everything you need. They set you up with all of the basics (room, shampoos, meals), but then they also have extras, like a toy room for your child to pick out a new toy. They go every extra mile to make sure that while you are there, you and your child are able to forget about why you are staying there. When your child is sick, it is the most heart-wrenching thing you have to go through. The comfort that the House provides to you lifts so much of the weight of the pain, fear, and anguish of those times.”

Jana Rose also explained that, unless you have had a sick child or have been through this experience, there is no way for someone to understand that the little things, like a comfortable place to stay in, food, and entertainment, really become the big things. As she says, “Staying at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House is an escape. It is a miraculous place. Thank you to everyone – the staff, volunteers, and donors – for making the House what it is.”

It’s the Season of Giving! Make a Giving Tree donation!

This year, Ethan Allen Design Center in Peoria is hosting the Giving Tree to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois.

Choose one — or more — tags from the tree, purchase the item shown for the House, and drop off your donations at the Ethan Allen store, located at 5301 E. Landers Way, Peoria, IL 61615.

Tags available:

  • $10: Pack of Clorox wipes to sanitize House
  • $16: 2 pack of pillows
  • $25: Individually wrapped snacks for families to take to hospital
  • $25–$50: Gift cards for families
  • $50: Month’s supply of laundry detergent for families to use
  • $88: Provide one night’s stay at the House for a family
  • $125: Help provide dinner one evening for the families in our House
  • $1,936: Provide one night for the entire House ($88 x 22 family suites)

Porch pick-ups are also available.

To schedule a porch pickup, contact Susan Knox at 309-692-2889 or email susan.knox@ethanallen.com.

Happy Anniversary Peoria House!

Happy Anniversary Peoria House! We have made a positive impact in the lives of many families that have stayed at the Peoria House

A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered, donated wish list items and money, delivered meals, and made this possible — we wouldn’t be here without you! Despite the challenges we have faced, we have made a positive impact in the lives of many families that have stayed at the Peoria House. We’re looking forward to many more years of service!

To send a gift to the Peoria House, check out our wish lists!

We appreciate our Volunteers – meet Carol B!

How easy was it for Carol Bingham to decide to volunteer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois?

“It was a no brainer for me to volunteer here.”

Carol is one of many RMHCCI volunteers and started giving her time in 2016. After retiring from a career that kept her busy, she needed something to do and knew all the good work that Ronald McDonald House® was doing in her community and for families from around the area. Carol coordinates the Guest Chef program and the Peoria House Pathway to Hope project and is always willing to lend a hand with other projects as needed. Read more about Carol and her favorite part of volunteering for the organization below.

When did you start volunteering at RMHCCI?

Spring of 2016 after I retired in January.

What made you want to volunteer at the House?

After working 60+ hours a week, I needed something to do.  However, I also knew of the good work that the Ronald McDonald House provided to our community, so it was a no brainer for me to volunteer here.

What type of volunteer work do you do at the House?

I coordinate the guest chef program in addition to doing computer work especially the Exceed program.  I also coordinate the ongoing brick project for the Peoria House.  Basically, I am willing to do anything that keeps me busy.

How has your role as a volunteer changed since COVID-19?

Per RMHC's COVID-19 protocol, I have not been able to come into the House like I like to.  However, while at home, I was still able to keep up my work on guest chef meals and the brick project remotely on the computer.  I have also been able to help keep Exceed updated with guest information from home too. I look forward to getting back to the Houses regularly again.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering at RMHC?

I not only enjoy the work I am doing knowing that I am productive for a great charity but I also have met so many nice people from staff, volunteers and guests who are awesome to work with.  I really missed them during those months of not being able to come into the House and see everyone.

 

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

Visit our volunteer page to learn more!

 

Bently, Ashley, and John – Getting a helping hand at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House

By Luke Burdsall

PEORIA (WEEK) -- Since the opening of the Peoria Ronald McDonald House two months ago, families have already begun taking advantage of the opportunity it provides to families.

John Haneghan is a grandfather from Macomb whose pride is measured by how many pictures of his grandchildren he can store on his phone.

"I got one of him smiling... I just can't help myself. I took a dozen today. He's just so cute," John said.

Watch a video of this family's story at WEEK.com.

In December, he helped welcome three new grandchildren in the course of just one month, but one stood as a testament to life.

"He was diagnosed with VSD, large VSD, and Truncus arteriosus, and had a hole in his heart," said John.

That's when they discovered the helping hand of the Ronald McDonald House, which opened the same month Bently's journey of life began -- eliminating the cost entirely.

Baby Bently, post surgery. Photo via WEEK.com.

Ashley Hammit, the boys mother, said when she was 20 weeks pregnant with Bently, doctors found issues with his heart during a routine checkup.

This diagnosis forced her son to be hospital bound at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria -- roughly 70 miles from home.

Ashley says the thought was frightening. She wanted him to have a fighting chance.

Now, just weeks old, Bently has already been through four surgeries -- the fight of his life.

"He's been such a fighter... such a fighter," John said.

Since birth, Bently has not left OSF St. Francis, where John and his daughter began staying in hotels just to be close.

John said each day brings different challenges, but Bently finds a way to reassure him that everything is OK.

"I don't know, maybe it's my voice, but he hears me, and he'll look for me, which makes it personal," said John. "... When he grabs my finger, it's like I'm being blessed... being touched by a little angel."

Ashley says, "Nobody likes to be alone, and I like that my dad comes up here and supports me, because there is bad days and there is good days and we can share that time together."

Staying in hotels brought a level of convenience for them instead of commuting the hour and a half each day, but the cost started to add up.

That's when they discovered the helping hand of the Ronald McDonald House, which opened the same month Bently's journey of life began -- eliminating the cost entirely.

"This journey so far with the Ronald McDonald House has been... it turned it all around. It's turned it all around... it's a blessing," John said.

He says their daily routine is by far less stressful.

"We usually try and get up around 7 or 8 o'clock. We usually try to grab coffee on the go, and try to be up at the hospital at around 9 a.m.. They have rounds that let us know how Bently is doing every morning," said John.

They spend about 8 hours a day with Bently, every day. John says from the hospital to the Ronald McDonald House, the support is constant when they go from one place to another.

"So, there's a support group there. Then we come here and they're just as supportive. Because sometimes you don't let your emotions show there, but you do here. It helps to talk to people, see other people, it's like a big family here," John said.

There at the Ronald McDonald House, they have a homey apartment -- food, laundry, and entertainment provided for them, as well as other residents and staff who they can talk to if needed.

"To have that, you know if my dad has to leave, there is other people to lean on too, you know," said Ashley.

The two are able to find joy in the small victories throughout each day -- seeing Bently, eating the meals provided for them, and even some things as simple as playing games to put them at ease.

"We'll play cards. We do enjoy playing a lot of Uno," John said.

"During the day we're mostly about Bently and stuff so to come back and still have that father-daughter bond and play, it's just really fun to do... Get our minds off of the whole situation with Bently and just relax," Ashley said.

With all that the Ronald McDonald House offers them, what John cherishes the most is having a peaceful place to sit and enjoy a moment looking through the pictures he takes each day.

"I share them with family of course. The ones who can't be here. So, it's always precious. I'll have them forever. It makes you realize how delicate life can be. You pray a lot, you pray a lot and when you are around people who are praying with you, it does give you a lot of hope," John said.

Originally Published February 12, 2020 on Week.com.

Photos via WEEK.com.

Cycle for Hope Fundraiser – October 3, 2020

Cycle for Hope Fundraiser - A brand-new fundraising event to Benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois on October 3, 2020.

A brand-new fundraising event to Benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois

Cycle for Hope Fundraiser - A brand-new fundraising event to Benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois on October 3, 2020.

October 3, 2020, 12-4pm
Peoria, Illinois

Thank you to everyone who participated at Cycle For Hope!

We are so thankful for everyone that got involved and donated! We raised over $20,000 so far to support our families. We are looking forward to making this a event for years to come!

Continue reading

9th Annual Dave Cope Swing for the Love of It Memorial Golf Tournament in Peoria, September 15, 2020

Join us for the 9th Annual Dave Cope “Swing for the Love of It” Memorial Golf Tournament on Tuesday September 15, 2020!

Registration for sponsorships of the 9th Annual Dave Cope "Swing for the Love of It" Memorial Golf Tournament is underway! The tournament will be held Tuesday, September 15th at Weaver Ridge Golf Club in Peoria.  Registration starts at 8:30am, with a scramble-style tournament starting at 10am - consisting of 36 teams of four players.  Dinner, live auction and presentation of awards will immediately follow play.

The "Swing for the Love of It" Memorial Golf Tournament is in memory of Dave Cope, who formerly owned McDonald's restaurants in the Peoria Co-op with his wife, Jayne, since 1990.  The event is organized by McDonald's Owner/Operators of the Peoria/Bloomington Co-op.

Location

Weaver Ridge Golf Club
5100 N. Weaverridge Blvd.
Peoria, IL 61615

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
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