Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Home Away From Home - CHBM Carnival

Today's CHBM Carnival subject is
"The charitable cause that is dearest to my heart…"

Well, since I've already written about Safe Haven I'll make this post about my second favorite ~ Ronald McDonald House Charities!

Once, long ago in a world far, far away (OK, about 1998), a little girl was born.

Except you could hardly tell she was human. She was grey and her belly was so swollen she looked like a babydoll stuck to a cantalope. Yah, about that color, too.

Her heart stopped and then would go so fast you couldn't count the beats.

Her Mommy and Daddy were sad. And scared. And lost in this new world of "what do we do NOW?"

I once heard someone say that having a child with special needs is like planning for a trip to Sweden. You learn the language, Exchange your currency, book your flight, pack your bags. You're EXCITED! You are READY TO GO to this beautiful land that you have always wanted to visit.

So you get on the plane and you take a nap as the big bird rises into the air. You land at your destination and deplane...
only to find yourself in AFRICA!

WHOA NELLIE!! Wait a dern minute. This is NOT what I planned for or what I had in mind. But you are stuck. No getting out. No getting back on the plane. What now?

Ronald McDonald House was my Home away from Home for 15 days. They fed me, took phone messages, made sure I was safe, helped me arrange for care for my C-Section wound that had to be packed every day. They cared about me and what was going on with my baby. I made so many friends of other parents in the house. We would walk across the sky bridge together to visit our little ones in the NICU. The triplets, the little preemie up for adoption who's "new mommy" flew up from California to meet him and make arrangements, The boy in the next bed who was a dusky Blue color from a heart problem, the infant from Kenya who had inhaled meconium and now had pneumonia and the little ones so tiny their arms were thinner than a pencil. Heart breaking sister-and-brother hood of fear.
RMH was our sanctuary and all they asked was $15 a day. No kidding!

Yet when the day came to finally go home, I had no money. So they gave me time.
A month later, I still didn't have the $300 they asked.
So I wrote them and said, "Can I come clean rooms? Cook dinners? man the reception desk? How could I make this debt right?"

They wrote back "What Debt? It is forgiven. Don't worry about it anymore!"

OK, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Hang on...gotta get a tissue!

So let me tell you what, whenever I go through a Mickey D's drive thru I dump ALL my change into the little box under the window. If I go inside, I empty my coin purse into the box on the counter. One year, I was able to call all my friends and family and say "here's what they did for me? Can you help?" I gathered $289.00!!
I figure the change I have dumped into the collection boxes over the years has equaled the other $11.00 due.

But I wish I could give more. I wish I could give them a big hug. I wish I could let them know how they made my burden lighter.

If you get a chance, friends, would you consider throwing your change in the box under the window, too? They helped me when I needed it so desperately. I don't know what I would have done without RMHC West House.

Sorry, gotta go get another tissue.


MotoMom said...

when my daughter was a girl scout we would choose a charity like a homeless shelter, one year it was the Ronald McDonald House. Often people were on diets or diabetic and did not want to buy cookies. That is when she would bring out the second form, people could buy a box of cookies to be delivered to the charity. It was a win-win situation, people could make a donation, sales increased, and my kids had the opportunity to visit and deliver the cookies.

Rebekah said...

My nephew was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery when he was 1 week old. Ronald McDonald House took care of my borhter and SIL. It was a very incredible experience