Imagine receiving a stack of money and being told, “Go share this. Anywhere you choose. Anyway you like.” The purpose? Pay It Forward.
Do you know where you would invest the money? The possibilities are endless, but for me, when Christine Kropp explained the Bluewater Pay It Foward Project, the choice was simple. I wanted to give to the Ronald McDonald House.
I suggested the Ronald McDonald house to our Pay It Forward group because when I was 3 years old, I contracted polio. Throughout my illness, I spent a lot of time at Sister Kenny and Gillette Children’s Hospital. At that time, your parents were allowed to visit you just once a week on Sundays, and no brothers or sisters were allowed–ever. I remember throwing fits every time my mom and dad had to leave.
It’s scary being alone, especially at that young age. I remember distinctly the time, during my stay at Sister Kenny, when my parents told me they were just going to go get coffee and would come right back… they didn’t. When they returned for their scheduled visit the following week, the first words out of my mouth were “You never came back.”
The same limited visitation rules applied when I moved to Gillette Children’s Hospital – only 1 visit a week from parents, on Sunday afternoons. While I was older (between 6th & 7th grade) at the time I was hospitalized there for about 6 weeks, I still wished for longer visits. Mom and Dad would come visit on Sundays and leave my brothers and sisters in the car parked out on the street in front of the windows of the ward I was in. They would wave to me and I would wave back. But there was never more contact than that. They would sit in that car and wait for any where from 2 to 4 hours, without ever having the chance to come in and say hello.
The ward I was in had 10 beds. Parents would come and go, and when the time came for our families to leave, all we did was cry. My experience as a child has made me realize the importance of keeping families together in times of sickness. It’s times like those that family matters most.
The Ronald McDonald House understands this need; the organization strives to give families a sense of normalcy in the midst of difficult times, and that takes resources.
Our team took a shopping trip, collecting items such toys, games, and school supplies to go not only to the sick children, but also to their siblings, who are spending extensive time in the hospital with sick brothers and sisters. I’m so thankful to have been given the opportunity to give to an organization that helps kids who were just like me; longing for the comfort of family while sick.
If you’re interested in helping the Ronald McDonald House in their mission to keep families together during tough times, click here for more information.
P.S. Watch for more posts about our teams’ Pay It Forward projects!
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