The Ronald McDonald Home offers a house away from residence for households with kids within the hospital in the course of the holidays
The house provides a welcoming home for families for Christmas.
INDIANAPOLIS – Nobody wants their child to be in the hospital, especially for Christmas. But for families in this situation, the Ronald McDonald House in central Indiana provides a welcoming home away from home.
Amid the pandemic, the house has adapted to continue serving its mission this holiday season.
The house is one block from the IU Health Riley Children’s Hospital at 435 Limestone Street on the IUPUI campus. It is one of 360 around the world where families can stay at little or no cost while a child is treated in nearby hospitals.
“We provide peace and a sense of normalcy for families and parents,” said Karin Ogden, CEO of Central Indiana Charities’ Ronald McDonald House, who sat by the fireplace in the lobby of the house. “The patients may not be here with us.” That’s why we care about parents to make sure they are at their best with their children. “
Jeffrey Singleton, 16, was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma in July. His family lives in Fort Branch, southwest Indiana, a three-hour drive from Riley. Jeffrey and his mother, Stacy, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House during daily chemotherapy and radiation in December.
“It’s really been a financial help to us in this time of unlimited incoming medical bills,” said Stacy. “And all the travel and everything, it saved us a lot of gas going back and forth. It was just Jeffrey.” A place to rest and, as your mother, also a place where you can just come in and breathe out and know that we are safe. “
The house usually accommodates 51 families who live in community and share some common rooms. However, the pandemic has resulted in this capacity having to be limited to 33 families.
Social distancing requirements have eliminated large indoor holiday gatherings. Businesses and organizations typically decorate up to 15 Christmas trees in the lobbies, but outside visitors are limited due to COVID-19 concerns. Donations must be handed in outside.
Santa’s workshop, in which families were looking for gifts at a large event with many volunteers, could not take place in 2020. Families shopped at a toy store in a lobby display case. The volunteers then prepared the gifts for delivery.
Families were given iPads and tablets to connect with families back home for virtual Christmas parties.
“Many hospitals will do their best to get families home for the holidays as well as possible,” said Ogden. “Then you have the most critical care of children left. These are the families who will be with us until Christmas. ”
Ogden was expecting about 16 families to stay in the house over Christmas and New Years.
The Ronald McDonald House charities in central Indiana did not run any of the usual fundraising events for major events during the pandemic, so the house could particularly be eligible for financial assistance in late 2020.