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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
April is National Volunteer Month! We rely on the support of hundreds of volunteers to help us fulfill our mission of keeping families close while their child receives medical care. Throughout this month we will be featuring many of our dedicated volunteers and sharing their stories about why they choose to volunteer for us!
Our first featured volunteer is Shelley Ebener, who has volunteered at the Springfield House for the last several years.
Upon my retirement three years ago, I knew I still had useful skills and would be looking at volunteering.
Almost thirty-three years ago my younger son was born 14 weeks prematurely. Living in Chatham, we did not need to use the services of the Springfield Ronald McDonald House, but we saw firsthand the importance of the house for families from outside the area. It was such a comfort for those needing a place to stay. When that same son was in our church youth group, the group would would be guest chefs and he would reassure parents that good things happen in the NICU and provide support to the families, as well as living proof of the success possible.
Because of these two experiences the Ronald McDonald House was the first place I looked to volunteer. Seeing the needs of the families and the importance of having a clean, safe home away from home, I know I made a good choice in volunteering.
I have also enlisted the support of friends from the Friends of Chatham Pickleball club to assist at the house as well. They have helped with organizing the pantry, being guest chefs, and most recently providing a dinner (with the assistance of Bella Milano Springfield and the Apple Barn Chatham Illinois) during shelter in place .
This event is being rescheduled for late summer or early fall – please check back soon for the date!
Come out and be a “Hero for the House” at our 6th Annual 5k Run/Walk in Washington Park! Sponsored by the Springfield Teen Council, this year’s event is packed with family-friendly, superhero-themed activities, including a 50-yard fun run and face painting. Proceeds from sponsorships, donations and participation all directly benefit our chapter by providing families with the essentials of home—for as long as they need—at no cost to them! To be guaranteed an event t-shirt, you must register by April 20.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Illinois Teen Council is a group of high-school age students who have come together to encourage support and awareness of the charity. Through the Teen Council year, students strengthen and develop skills in leadership, teamwork, responsibility, and communication, while supporting the mission of the House to serve children and families.
If you know a high school student that would like to become involved with Teen Council, the next application process will open in August 2020. For more information, contact Kendyl Wear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russ Ramsey - State Farm Insurance Agent in Springfield, Illinois, has chosen to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois in the office’s Quotes for Good this month! If you are not a current State Farm customer, please contact Russ’s office for a no-obligation quote for auto insurance and be sure to mention "Quotes for Good". Each quote provided will result in a $10 donation to us, up to $400. Especially during this time of uncertainty, your support matters, to both charities and small businesses! We are grateful for this partnership and generosity. Please contact Russ’s office today for your quote or for any other questions!
Our All-In Donation Day has been postponed due to COVID-19, but we still have items on our wish list that need fulfilled! We are grateful for our local Walmart stores in Springfield for helping us keep our shelves stocked!
- Walmart Springfield - Freedom Dr
- Walmart Springfield - N Dirksen Pkwy
- Walmart Springfield - Lejune Dr