Category Archives: Special Needs

Special needs ranging from learning disabilities to physical disabilities. (Spina bifida, wheelchair, Tourette’s, learning disabilities, etc)

Home away from Home – Ronald McDonald House Charities

Home away from Home – Ronald McDonald House Charities

If you have never heard of the Ronald McDonald House Charities then you are in for a treat. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) was started in 1974 through an unlikely partnership between an NFL Team, a children’s hospital and a restaurant chain. Since then, it has grown to be an international charity.

home away from home

Because I am a brand ambassador for McDonald’s I get to talk to you about cool things like the Ronald McDonald House. While I am being compensated for this post, my love of the Ronald McDonald House is all my own. All opinions are also my own :)

History of the Ronald McDonald House Charities

When Philadelphia Eagles Fred Hill’s daughter, Kim Hill, was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 3, her parents spent many nights at the hospital sleeping in waiting rooms and eating from vending machines. They saw other parents doing the same. Some families traveled for hours to be with their children. Most of these families stayed at the hospital in waiting rooms or on hospital benches as it was unrealistic, and costly, to travel back and forth on a daily basis.

I can relate to these families. When Aloshua was in the hospital waiting to come home on his vent, I was unable to stay with him. The rooms were not set up for parents to stay. Instead, I spent countless hours on a chair beside his bed and relied on vending machines for most of my meals. Not only was it stressful, but it was bad for my health; emotional and physical.

Hill recognized the need for change and along with his teammates, came together and raised funds to help families in this situation. With the support of the team’s general manager and an idea of a temporary housing unit for families of hospitalized children, formed by Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a plan was set in motion.

Philadelphia McDonald’s owners/operators donated the proceeds from the sell of shamrock shakes to the cause. Within no time, the first Ronald McDonald House was built allowing families to stay close to their children while receiving treatment at local hospitals. Since then, numerous other houses have been built with the same idea in mind. There are currently over 300 houses spread out over 30 countries.

Ronald McDonald House Charities comes to Arkansas

In 1980, Little Rock opened an 8 room house to help serve families. Since then it has grown to 28 rooms and serves over 1,000 families each year.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Arkansas Little Rock

What you may not know about RMHC is that they are a non profit organization, independent from the hospitals they serve.  This means that they do not receive funds from the hospital. Instead, they rely on donations. Being McDonald’s charity of choice, they receive a large portion of their funds from there, however even with large contributions from McDonald’s, they are not fully funded. RMHC relies on the community’s support, donations, and in-kind contributions to keep going.

Want to know how you can help?

Are you curious how you can help? I recommend first calling your local RMHC and asking what they are most in need of. Little Rock’s RMHC  just posted a wish list asking for dryer sheets and disinfectant wipes. While yours may not need the same thing, you can get a good idea of what they do need by asking. Here are some other ways you can help:

Monetary contributions – These funds can be used to purchase everything from food to toiletries.
Supper Club – Volunteer time to cook a meal for the families at the house.
Donating – Hygiene products (soaps, shampoos, deodorants, feminine hygiene, etc)
Collecting – RMHC collects soda pop tabs which are then recycled for money.
Toys – Some families stay in the house for months at a time, having new toys lifts their spirits.
Food – By participating in the supper club you can help provide a meal, but you can also donate food and snacks for the families to have in between meals. RMHC does not provide every meal and some families do not have the funds to “eat out” constantly.

Because I lived so close to the hospital at the time Aloshua was waiting for his home vent, I was unable to stay at the Ronald McDonald house, but I saw first hand how much the house helped other families around me. Every year our local house has multiple events for the families staying in the house. I am able to attend some and see how RMHC is helping my community and families in it stay together through some of the hardest times in their life.

If you have a chance, see how you can help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Christmas (Birthday) Cards for Losh!

Hey guys.. I am just quickly posting today to let you know that Aloshua’s 10th birthday is in one week (May 18th) and he has again chosen to have a Christmas theme. Last time he did this, we had some people send Christmas cards and used them as ornaments on the Birthday/Christmas tree. We wanted to do that again and send out a call to anybody who would like to send him a card. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. All cards are appreciated. All the information is in the image below :)

christmas cards for losh

Losh update – 1 year post trach decannulation

Losh update – 1 year post trach decannulation

Approximately one year ago Losh got his trach out. I wanted to give a little post trach decannulation update:

Trach Decannulation Day – June 4th, 2014

The doctor assured us that within a few months the hole would close, and if it hadn’t closed near the 1 year mark that they would discuss surgically closing it..

Immediately post trach decannulation

ENT continued to monitor the stoma and by the six month mark, his hole was still ever so slightly open, but the Dr. decided to go ahead and discuss surgical closure.

Nearing the one year mark.. Hole still open, but only slightly.

Nearing the one year mark.. Hole still open, but only slightly.

Because he was already scheduled for a surgery at the end of April, ENT decided just to tag along with that surgery and close it then.

So, on the 28th of April, Losh had his stoma surgically closed.

In Pre-op waiting for surgery...

In Pre-op waiting for surgery…

In recovery (Click the image to see the VLOG on youtube)

In recovery (Click the image to see the VLOG on youtube)

You can click the image to view the vlog. It goes into a little more detail, but surgery went well. He had some oral work done (sealants, crowns, and a root canal), bronchoscopy, and stoma closure. Recovery didn’t go as well. He was upset because he woke with a bad taste in his mouth and he wanted me. He kept dropping his sats and needed to be put on oxygen. They kept him on it overnight along with an apnea monitor. In the morning, they downloaded the results, took him off of the oxygen (which he kept placing on top of his nose anyway) and told us we could go home!

He is almost 2 weeks post-op and doing really well. There have been no complications. The site is healing up nicely. In a few more weeks he will just be another kid in a wheelchair instead of a “trach kid”.

That is an awesome feeling!

Aybra’s Favorite Things 2015

Aybra’s Favorite Things (2015)

aybras favorite things
Aybra’s birthday is tomorrow. I wanted to give her a birthday shoutout and post a little about her favorite things. According to her, her favorite things are:

Food – steak
Color – red
Name – Dakota
YouTuber – Dan (The Diamond Minecart)
Fruit – orange
Vegetable – carrot
Number – 6
ToDo – hug mommy
TV Show – TDA Total Drama Action
Toy – stuffies

And as a bonus, I asked her if she had a million dollars what would she do with it and her answer was pretty basic. “Buy sweets and vegetables and clothes”.

Dear Readers, if you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?