Welcome to Heather's Team RMHC Fundraising Page!
On October 13th, I will be representing Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) at the 2024 Bank of America Chicago Marathon! As a returning member of Team RMHC, I will be training, fundraising and ultimately running 26.2 miles to help keep families together.
Did you know RMHC helps millions of families each year? RMHC helps families cope better and focus on the needs of their sick child, allowing them the ability to spend more time with their child, to interact with their doctors, and to make important decisions about their child’s care.
The Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House, in particular, holds great meaning to my family. After giving birth prematurely to twins at 26.2 weeks due to stage III TTTS, we lost our sweet Emery, and were suddenly thrust into NICU life with a micro preemie, Harper, who suffered a grade IV brain bleed and was being watched with close scrutiny. Thank goodness my mom flew out with us, and had a hotel room, because Dustin and I had nowhere to go.
It was overwhelming trying to cope with grief over the loss of our daughter and trying to maintain hope for our survivor, Harper. Not to mention, we were states away from our home, with nowhere to go. We flew in for emergency surgery for my TTTS, but that was cancelled after I landed, having been in severe pain all day. What the Atlanta doctors thought was pain due to the TTTS was actually premature labor. We took the first flight out from Atlanta (currently only four hospitals in the country perform this specific TTTS surgery, so Cincinnati it was) as soon as possible, so we basically came with nothing. After a week of hotel floating, and two weeks of long-term living in a hotel too far away from the hospital (it was February and the roads were also icy - something us Southerners aren't used to), RMHC expedited our application and we were able to move in just minutes from our daughter's hospital. The lengths they go to to make you feel more at "home" during what is a very difficult time for most families is unparalleled.
From all meals to haircuts to local discounts, it's all free to these families, and volunteer-based. The support they provide to you is unmatched. I truly do not know what we would have done without them. In the course of 24 hours, we literally had a new hometown for the next three months. I'll never forget I took a picture of our room on our last day there, because I never wanted to forget that room, or how it saved us during the hardest time in our lives. There's so much more to our story that feels too long to type (but please, ask me about the time Dustin rescued a man right after he was hit by a car in front of us!), but when I read about RMHC's involvement with the Chicago Marathon, I felt called to become involved. It would be financially less expensive to just sign up, but I want to give back to an organization that gave our family and so many others so much. Each house keeps a wall on the board of who is currently "in residence," and where they're from. In our house alone, we had people from all over the world who were there long-term due to their children's conditions. I can't even imagine what they would've done had there been no Ronald McDonald House. Our family so, so, so appreciates your support of Ronald McDonald House Charities! I'll be running this race in honor of my sweet twin girls, and for all the children and families who have found some semblance of comfort in RMHC! I also want to let everyone know that although they share a name, McDonald's isn't directly affiliated with RMHC, so each house does NOT receive any funds from McDonald's corporate - it's donor and volunteer-based, which makes them all the more amazing.
P.S. Each Ronald McDonald House is independently operated and relies on volunteers and donations, so please seek out your local RMH to find ways to help!
It costs approximately $100 to give a family one night of comfort and support. Your donation, of any amount, will not only help me achieve my goal, but will help children stay close to their families when they need it most!