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The Obosu Family – “People came together to meet the needs of a family they didn’t even know”

Hezekiah Obosu was born at 23 weeks and 5 days, weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, and measuring 12 inches long. His parents, Richard and Cheri, describe their experience of having Hezekiah in the NICU as "the hardest thing we have ever been through." They spent their days wondering if their little boy would make it, and the worst part was having to leave his bedside each night, and not being able to pick him up and squeeze him tight because he was connected to so many cords.

Richard and Cheri live an hour away from Springfield. They found comfort, though, at the Springfield Ronald McDonald House, which was right across the street from the NICU. Cheri says that staying at the House was like, "being surrounded by hundreds of people we had never met, making sure our focus could be on our son. The Ronald McDonald House gave us a place where we could sleep, shower, eat meals, and do our laundry. Strangers brought home cooked meals so we weren’t reliant on fast food."

"Our NICU stay lasted just a few days shy of 8 months, and I can't imagine reliving that experience. I’m not sure how we would have functioned if it weren’t for the large group of strangers who came together to meet the needs of a family they didn’t even know."

Support Ronald McDonald House by Purchasing your Morning Coffee at one of our “Coffee for a Cause” Partners!

Our Home for the Holidays campaign started on #GivingTuesday! All gifts, today through December 8th, will help us make our Springfield and Peoria Ronald McDonald Houses feel like home to the families we serve during this holiday season.

If you are in Springfield, one way you can support this campaign is by purchasing your morning coffee at one of our Coffee for a Cause partners: Caribou Coffee, Custom Cup, BUNN Gourmet, or Papo’s Cafe! Get your much needed caffeine fix, and support local businesses for a good cause!

The Hiller Family – “The Staff Became like Family”

Michael and Kayla Hiller had an appointment when Kayla was 29 weeks pregnant. At this appointment, their doctor discovered that their son was not getting enough blood flow to the placenta, so Kayla was rushed to the hospital. There, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia, and was told she would need to stay in the hospital for blood pressure monitoring for several weeks until her son was born.

On August 13, 2020, Aries Dale Hiller was born, 10 weeks early. He weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Kayla was able to see Aries for only a few minutes before he was taken to the NICU, while Kayla was taken back to her room to monitor her rising blood pressure. Kayla was unable to visit Aries for 5 days due to her condition. Finally, though, her doctor allowed her to visit Aries, and her blood pressure decreased.

Kayla and Michael were living an hour and a half from Springfield. For a week, Kayla’s parents drove her to Springfield each day. Finally, a spot in the Springfield Ronald McDonald House became available, allowing Kayla and Michael to move in on August 27th.

“Right away, the staff became like family. They asked us each day how we were and how our sweet baby was doing. Some days were harder than others, but Katie (Springfield Program Director) and other staff members were so kind to us and were there if we needed to vent or cry.”

Of her relationship with the other parents staying at the House, Kayla says, “Being a new mom is scary but wonderful at the same time. The other moms and I bonded over our shared experiences, and it was nice to have them at the House to bond with, talk to, and cheer each other up.”

Another highlight of staying at the Ronald McDonald House was the provided meals. Kayla explained, “No one knows how difficult it can be to remember to eat or make time to get food when you are going back and forth to the hospital every day. Having prepared food waiting for us at the House was a blessing. We could focus solely on seeing our child.

Kayla and Michael stayed at the Springfield Ronald McDonald House for about two months. Aries is a happy, healthy, and growing boy!

Allstate Insurance’s Inaugural Golf Outing Supports Ronald McDonald House!

Last week, Allstate Insurance Agent: Shawn Miller hosted the office's inaugural golf outing, which benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois! Thanks to Shawn, his staff, and all participants for supporting us!

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Last week, Allstate Insurance Agent: Shawn Miller hosted the office's inaugural golf outing, which benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois! Thanks to Shawn, his staff, and all participants for supporting us!

From L-R: Development Director Kendyl Wear; Chief Executive Officer Amber Kaylor; Allstate Insurance Agent: Shawn Miller; golf outing participant.

Lacey, Doug, & Cora – “The Ronald McDonald House felt like home”

It was the start of the new year and my husband Doug and I were expecting our first child. Now that the holidays were over, we were so excited to start getting ourselves and our house ready for our little girl. We were a little over half-way through the pregnancy and were ready to fill our house with all things baby.

On January 13, 2020 I was admitted to the local hospital for monitoring. They were quick to transfer me to HSHS St. John’s Hospital due to the severity of my preeclampsia. After only a few days at the hospital I had to have an emergency C-section. Our daughter Cora was born at 23 weeks 5 days. She weighed only 1 pound. She was admitted to the NICU right after the delivery without either of us seeing her. There was so much unknown after her birth. We were not sure if she would make it or how badly she would be affected from such a preterm delivery. We were living minute by minute. On top of the fear for our daughter, we were an hour and a half away from our home and family. We did not know how we would be able to stay near our daughter during this time. Prior to discharge, our nurse informed us about the Springfield Ronald McDonald House.

I was so relieved to be able to stay close to my daughter and not have to worry about expenses. I will never forget the first day we came to stay at the house. I was so overwhelmed. It is hard to grasp how much the Ronald McDonald House does for the families who stay there. Having a place to sleep at night is one thing, but having a home away from home is another. That is what the Ronald McDonald house became for Doug and me. All meals were provided, rooms were stocked with essentials, washer dryer and detergent were supplied, and pretty much anything you would need was available, all at no cost. This house really makes sure the families do not have to worry about anything other than being there for their babies in such a scary time.

In addition to everything being provided, they have the best staff. We almost forgot that they were staff because they quickly became family. They were there through it all with us. They helped us through the bad and celebrated the good. There were so many times we would sit with them and talk for hours. We looked forward to our time spent with them and were always eager to share any news. They are the biggest reason this house felt like home. The staff really helped the families staying there come together. Each night we would all sit together and share stories about our babies or life experiences. It was so nice to have the connection we did with all the families. We were all in this together. Having support from the staff and families was the greatest feeling. We have so much love for everyone we met at the Ronald McDonald House. No amount of words will be able to describe how important they were on our journey.

We spent 141 days in the NICU, as well as the house. I cannot begin to imagine how differently our story would have been if we were not able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Cora is home and doing great. She is healthy and growing. We are so happy to be home together and have grown so much through this experience. We have become so humble and grateful. We cannot wait to give back to this charity that has changed our lives. We encourage people to donate as they can whether it be in form of supplies, meals, or monetary. If you can donate in any way, please know how important your donation is in helping families in such a challenging time.

RMHCCI 26th Annual Springfield Golf Classic – September 21, 2020

Our 26th Annual Springfield Golf Classic!

Love a good Golf Scramble? Put Monday, September 21, 2020 on your calendar and start thinking about who you want on your four-player team! Our 26th annual Golf Classic will take place at Piper Glen Golf Club in Springfield again this year. This is a great way to help the Springfield Ronald McDonald House and our Chapter overall! More information is coming soon.

Please contact Kendyl Wear (kw@rmhc-centralillinois.org or call 217-528-3314) for questions.

4th Annual Labor Day Ducky Derby September 7, 2020

The Labor Day Ducky Derby 2020 is September 7, 2020 at Knight's Action Park, the proceeds will support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central IL.

This Labor Day on Monday, September 7, 2020 was our annual Labor Day Ducky Derby at Knight's Action Park! Proceeds from this event will support the families at Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois. All ducks purchased were entered to race the Ducky Derby in the Wild River at Knight's Action Park on Labor Day afternoon!

The Ducky Derby took place Labor Day morning, Monday, September 7, 2020 at 11:00am. The race lasted approximately 10 minutes, with the winners announced at 11:30am.

This year, we followed CDC guidelines and limited the number of people who attend the Derby.

We live-streamed the race on our Facebook page

You can watch from the comfort of your home!
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The Fecht Family – From House Guests to Regular Donors

In early 2019, Jonathan and Holly Fecht were expecting a new addition to their family. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. Their son Noah was born 9 weeks early, sending him to the NICU at HSHS St. John’s Children's Hospital in Springfield, IL. Living more than 2 hours away with no friends or family members in the Springfield area, Jonathan and Holly were not only concerned about their son but where they would stay over the next five weeks. That is until the nurses at the hospital referred them to the Springfield Ronald McDonald House®.

Holly and Jonathan had heard of Ronald McDonald House Charities®, but like many, they were unfamiliar with how we serve families in need until they stayed with us. Holly described the House as a “lifesaver for stress!”, knowing that they would have a home and meals provided to them—at no cost—while their son was getting stronger in the hospital.

We’re happy to report Noah made a full recovery and is a happy, healthy, and active toddler now. But Holly and Jonathan have not forgotten the generous welcome they received at the Springfield House and have become donors, supporting us financially and with in-kind donations.

“We absolutely recommend Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois,” shares Holly. “Not just as a place to stay, but as a charity to support. The direct benefit to families was evident from the level of detail provided in our stay. Every service offered was catered specifically to meet the needs of our family and allowed us to focus on our child and not on other outside stressors. We believe in giving back and supporting those in need. We know what the Houses can provide to families first hand, so it’s an easy choice to add them to our list of organizations we give to annually.”

Want to become an annual supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois?

We make it easy to set up a reoccurring gift! Click here to donate, enter your donation amount and how often you want to make this donation, and your contribution can be on the way quickly.

In the face of everything going on, we need your support now more than ever.

Featured Volunteer: Joan Swearingen

Joan Swearingen is our volunteer with the longest tenure! As a Guest Services volunteer, she helps families check-in and check-out of the Springfield House, answers questions, and much more! She also writes our thank you cards for in-kind donations. Joan describes her experience as a volunteer below:

"I have been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House for 22 years. During this time I have seen the House expand from a total of 8 Bedroom/Baths with living. dining and play rooms to a 14 Bed/Bath to accommodate the growing need. Also staff has gone from 2 paid individuals to 6 plus nighttime people. Despite all of this growth, the basic services provided have remained the same.

"I consider myself fortunate to have been a volunteer for all these years. Being able to provide a safe, comfortable lodging for parents in crisis with a child in the hospital has been very fulfilling.

"Over all of these years, every family I have helped "check out" to finally go home has expressed their gratitude for the House and staff/volunteers. Often they refer to it as a blessing."

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