Today, in lieu of spending the day studying, I headed down to the Cleveland Ronald McDonald House to help out for the day.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Ronald McDonald House (any of them, not just the one in CLE), I HIGHLY encourage you to click the above link and check them it. It’s an incredible organization whose aim is to provide families with a sick child (receiving treatment at a local healthcare facility) a “home away from home” during what’s often the worst time in their lives. The name is misleading though—they are NOT affiliated with McDonald’s. And while lots of individual McDonald’s owner-operators are involved with their local houses, RMH is not funded through McDonald’s.
Bit (just a little, I swear) of history for you—the VERY FIRST RMH was opened in Philadelphia in 1974. Fred Hill (former Philadelphia Eagles tight end) had a daughter, Kim, that was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 3. The Hills, after spending three years in and out of hospitals, watching other families deal with similar situations, wanted to do something about it. The Eagles then-manager, Jim Murray, was so moved by the Hills’ plight that he wanted to do something as well. When he approached the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about making a (sizable) donation, he was referred to Dr. Audrey Evans who had been floating the idea of a “home away from home” for years, but was lacking funding. After getting the Hills and the Eagles Owner, Leonard Tose, involved, the idea of the Ronald McDonald House was born. The name, however, didn’t come until later. Murray had contacted the local McDonald’s and asked about their next promotion, which happened to be a then brand-new product…a little something called the “Shamrock Shake.” With the help of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, a fundraiser was set-up. For an entire week, all proceeds from the sale of Shamrock Shakes in the Philadelphia area would go to Dr. Evans and Jim Murray’s cause. The amount of money raised was enough to purchase the very first “Ronald McDonald House.” The name was chosen as a thank you to Kroc and the local McDonaldses (is that even a word???) for not hesitating to jump on board of a brand-new cause.
Since then, there have been thousands and thousands of families helped through RMH and RMH Charities.
So there you have it: RMH in a nutshell.
I’ve been volunteering at the Cleveland house for what feels like a million years (but is probably closer to 4 or 5) and I can honestly say it is one of the best non-profit organizations I’ve come into contact with. They take their mission (helping families) very seriously. It’s an organization that you can feel really good about supporting (whether monetarily or volunteering).
And (guess what!) there IS a way you all can get involved with this super amazing fantastic organization!
Every year the Young Professionals Group of the Cleveland RMH has a cornhole tournament to fundraise for the house. It’s always a REALLY fun event—lots of food and drinks and, duh, cornhole. Even if you don’t play (I was tricked into playing ONCE and I swore, never again!), it’s a great event just to attend. This year it’s going to be at the Cavaliers practice courts at Quicken Loans arena (we had it there last year and it was AWESOME!).
It’s going to be on December 4 (a Sunday) during the afternoon. We’ll have the Browns-Ravens game on (so you won’t miss it). Food and drinks (including beer) are included in the price PLUS you’re donating to a great organization. I’ll be there, rocking my Browns jersey (praying that Peyton Hillis is healthy and playing well!), so you should be too! You can register your team of two (names and matching jerseys are totally welcome!) but we definitely encourage you to register as a single (we’ll match you up!). Or if cornhole isn’t your thing, but watching the Browns and hanging out with some awesome people (and maybe Ronald McDonald??) is, then this is your event. You can sign up here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone should SERIOUSLY come. It’s going to be a great event and what better way to get into the holiday spirit by giving back (and maybe having a beer or two!).