RMHC: Keeping ADPi Families Close Too

October 9th, 2020
Filed Under: Foundation | Philanthropy

It was the summer of her sophomore year when Lauren Hooie—Beta Omega, Auburn University, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland. She has been epileptic since the age of fifteen and in that time had tried six different medicines without success. Her neurologist recommended more serious testing at an advanced hospital, the Cleveland Clinic.

“They found two walnut sized lesions on the right side of my brain and had to remove them. But the MRIs and other tests were slow, and I could spend one week in the hospital or just one day.”

Located just one block away from the Cleveland Clinic, her two-month stay at the RMHC of Cleveland left a lasting impression.

“The Ronald McDonald house was in better shape than most hotels. The house in Cleveland is one of the biggest in the U.S, with about 50 rooms. If I felt up to it, I would just walk that one block to the house with my parents. The staff at the RMHC is one of the things I remember most. They were so kind and understanding, wanting to make our stay as easy as possible. There was always a meal in the kitchen and someone to hold the door open.”

Having previously visited the RMHC of Greater Atlanta, Lauren knew what it meant to volunteer at the house. When she visited a guest, her appreciation for those who donate their time serving at a Ronald McDonald House grew deeper.

After she returned home to her chapter, Lauren wanted to put more time into philanthropy events and what Beta Omega was doing to raise money, like Pi A Pie. “I got a lot of whipped cream in my face but remembered that the $5 was going to keep up a place that turned into a home for my family during an ugly time.”

When asked what her most significant memory was from staying at RMHC of Cleveland, Lauren shared, “One of my favorite memories was honestly when they brought a petting zoo to the pretty spacious outdoor area they had. Seeing a llama after being stuck inside a dreary hospital for a while is something I never forgot. And seeing how happy it made the young kids.”

And if you find yourself volunteering at an RMHC, here’s Lauren’s advice to you:

“Don’t be afraid of the people who have IVs connected to poles walking around. They’re excited the hospital let them leave with it rather than lay in bed there for another few days. And never tell people you feel sorry for them. Even if you do, being pitied is never fun. Strike up a conversation about something different, not about medicine or what the doctor’s next plan is. People staying there want to think of it as a safe space away from the hospital.”