Derek's Ronald McDonald House Experience
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
By Derek Graham
In 2007, I joined the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio Young Professionals Board (now known as the Red Shoe Society). It was a great experience to spend time around the House and I had the privilege of representing it at various public speaking events. During that time, I could tell you all sorts of statistics and facts about the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.
Little did I know, it would be in 2009 that I learned the real importance of this place where so many find themselves during their deepest times of need.
Our oldest daughter was born with multiple congenital heart defects. Her second operation was September 14, 2009. In the days that followed that operation, we had some incredibly scary days and nights in Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Megan stayed in intensive care much longer than originally expected and it was hard for my wife, Katie, and I to leave her side. As a parent you feel guilty going to the vending machine, let alone driving all the way home to shower, change clothes, etc.
In a twist of irony, my wife and I found ourselves staying at the Ronald McDonald House. I’ll never forget the hospital social worker coming in to ask us to stay there. The hospital recognized that Katie and I were not leaving and not sleeping (and probably noticed the not showering part too). We only stayed a few nights, but it meant the world to us to have a bed to sleep in and to be right across the street from the hospital.
The Ronald McDonald House is a positive place full of volunteers who always want to help. In our case, we only lived 30 minutes away and the Ronald McDonald House was a lifesaver. I can only imagine the relief it provides to families who live further away, out of state or even come from a different country for the great care they provide at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Every family staying in the Ronald McDonald House has unique circumstances and challenges. After staying there, I learned just how invaluable it is to have such a wonderful and caring place available as a resource. It allows you to focus on your child’s unique circumstances and challenges without worrying about trivial things…like showering.
Katie and I will always be grateful to the Ronald McDonald House. Going back, even if only to prepare one meal, is incredibly rewarding.
On December 6, 2019, the Resch, Root, Philipps & Graham team went down to help prepare and serve a lunch of chicken and waffles to current residents. It was a very small act of service that everyone at RRPG found both fun and rewarding.
To learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of the families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House, please visit: http://rmhc-centralohio.org/volunteer/meals/