Home, Hope, and Lemonade – The Cleveland Family’s RMHC Connection

Home, Hope, and Lemonade – The Cleveland Family’s RMHC Connection

Casey and Kelly Cleveland with their children.

Casey and Kelly Cleveland with their children.

In the fall of 2022, the Cleveland family’s world turned upside down when their son, Bodhi, fell seriously ill. After a visit to their local urgent care in Findlay, Ohio, they were stunned to learn that Bodhi had pneumonia and needed urgent care at Ebeid Children’s Hospital in Toledo. With his condition worsening, the Cleveland family faced the challenge of being away from home for weeks while Bodhi received the necessary medical attention, leaving them with worries about where to stay and how to manage during this challenging time.

Fortunately, hope appeared when a nurse at Ebeid Children’s Hospital recommended Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. The idea of staying at the House hadn’t occurred to the family before, but they quickly applied for accommodation, realizing it would offer them a much-needed home away from home during Bodhi’s treatment. As Kelly Cleveland put it, “We kept thinking, where are we going to sleep? Where are we going to eat? Are we going to have to drive back and forth from Findlay?”

The relief was palpable as they discovered that they wouldn’t have to worry about where to sleep or eat, and they could focus entirely on Bodhi’s care and well-being. Kelly described their experience, saying, “The Ronald McDonald House was so amazing to us. We can’t say enough good about the staff and facility. It (RMHC) lifts a huge burden off families that stay there and we are forever grateful.”

As the days turned into weeks, the Cleveland family found comfort and support at RMHC. With Noah, their 4-year-old son, by their side, they utilized the House’s playground and playroom to keep him occupied during Bodhi’s hospitalization. Kelly expressed her gratitude, saying, “We were so surprised by how amazing and welcoming the staff was. Carol (one of the Family Services Managers) would always check on us. She would ask how our son was and if we had any updates, it made us feel like we were at home to have someone that compassionate.”

Noah at the Ronald McDonald statue at RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

Noah at the Ronald McDonald statue at RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

After Bodhi’s successful recovery and their return to Findlay, Kelly and Casey knew they had to use this as an opportunity to teach the importance of giving back. Bodhi and Noah, inspired by the generosity they experienced, decided to host a lemonade stand in their neighborhood, with the proceeds going to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. Kelly explained their motivation, saying, “We were looking into ways to give back just like how others gave back to us when we were at the House. We thought dinners were a great idea, but then Noah and Bodhi wanted to host a lemonade stand.”

The Cleveland family with an oversized check for $97.00 the amount their children raised at their lemonade stand.

The Cleveland family with a donation to RMHC of Northwest Ohio from their lemonade stand.

For the Cleveland family, RMHC meant more than just a place to stay. It became a “home away from home,” a place of compassion, and a lifeline during their toughest moments. As they reflected on their journey, Kelly and Casey were forever grateful for Ronald McDonald House Charities, an organization that brought hope, strength, and love when they needed it the most. Their experience at RMHC not only changed their lives but also inspired them to make a difference in the lives of other families facing similar challenges.

The Brockman Family

The Brockman Family

The Brockman family going home after 42 nights at RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

The Brockman family going home after 42 nights at RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

In the heart of Lima, Ohio, the Brockman family’s life took an unexpected turn when Halle Brockman, during her pregnancy, faced a challenging situation. Sent to Toledo Hospital due to pre-term labor, Halle and her husband Caleb found themselves far from home and family. However, fate brought them to a place that would become their sanctuary during this difficult time – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio (RMHC).

A Twist of Fate

The Brockman family’s connection to the golden arches began years ago when 14-year-old Halle and Caleb crossed paths while working at McDonald’s. Little did they know that years later, the same company would play a significant role in their lives in a completely different way. When Halle was admitted to Toledo Hospital, she was later discharged to RMHC as her contractions halted. Still, fate had its way, and her water broke during their stay, leading to the early arrival of their twin babies, McKenna and McKinley, at just 30 weeks.

McKenna and McKinley Brockman

McKenna and McKinley Brockman

Discovering Support at RMHC

Before their stay at RMHC, the Brockman family had some knowledge of the organization’s community impact. However, it wasn’t until they found themselves in need that they truly understood the magnitude of support provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities. Halle expressed her gratitude, saying, “It is cool to see where the McDonald’s support goes to and how it helps all the families we are surrounded by. You never realize how much it helps until you see it.”

A Haven Away From Home

Being away from home and family during such a trying time was undeniably difficult for the Brockmans. However, RMHC became their refuge, allowing them to be close to their premature babies and offering much-needed support. The proximity to Toledo Hospital alleviated the burden of constant travel between Lima and Toledo, while the ability to stay close to their children brought immense comfort. Their two-year-old daughter, Madilyn, was also welcomed into the House, where she found joy in the playground and playroom.

Halle and Jacob with Madilyn.

Caleb and Halle with Madilyn.

A Support System That Goes Beyond

The Brockman family discovered that RMHC was more than just a place to stay – it was a nurturing community where they found comfort and solace. Halle expressed her admiration for the dedicated staff, stating, “Everyone has been amazing. All of the Family Service Managers have gone above and beyond for us. If we have an issue, they are there as soon as we need them.” The caring and attentive staff not only ensured the well-being of Halle and her newborns but also provided much-needed emotional support for their entire family.

Supporting RMHC: Making a Difference Together

The Brockman family’s journey at RMHC exemplifies the impact this organization has on families facing challenging circumstances. By providing a home away from home and a supportive community, RMHC offers families the strength to cope with their struggles. As Halle puts it, “The staff has made it ten times easier just by being there and supporting us.” On Monday, August 7 the Brockman family was able to head home to Lima, Ohio, with McKenna and McKinley.

This heartwarming story of the Brockman family at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio reminds us of the importance of supporting organizations like RMHC. By extending a helping hand, we contribute to the well-being of families during their most vulnerable moments. Come together and make a difference by supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities, spreading hope, and sharing the burden of those in need.

Empowering Families, One Meal at a Time

Empowering Families, One Meal at a Time

Jordan Wax, Michelle Wax, and Katie Neisler volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.

Jordan Wax, Michelle Wax, and Katie Neisler volunteering to make dinner at the Ronald McDonald House.

Volunteering is a noble act that not only helps others but also brings a sense of fulfillment and purpose to those who contribute their time and effort. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio has been a lifeline for families facing challenging times while their children undergo medical treatment. The Neisler and Wax families have experienced the support and care provided by RMHC firsthand and have now chosen to give back by volunteering. Their touching experiences highlight the significance of volunteering at RMHC and how it makes a significant difference in the lives of families in need.

A Home Away from Home

Katie and Justin Neisler, who had a child in the hospital in 2022, recalled the tremendous relief they felt when they found refuge in Ronald McDonald House. Living roughly an hour away from Toledo, the stress of daily travel, meal preparation, and finding a place to rest only added to their worries during an already challenging time. Staying at RMHC allowed them to focus solely on caring for their child, knowing that all their basic needs were taken care of.

Katie Neisler organizing taco topping for taco bar.

Katie Neisler organizing to-go boxes with taco toppings for their taco bar.

A Support System That Understands

Michelle and Jordan Wax, who stayed at RMHC for ten nights in 2018 while their child was recovering in the NICU, also appreciated the sanctuary provided by the House. The distance from their home and their child’s hospital made RMHC a crucial resource for them. In their words, “I couldn’t drive, so to be close to my baby and not have to sleep in the hospital, RMHC was a great place for me and my family.” These families knew firsthand the impact of volunteers who eased their burden, and that inspired them to give back.

Michelle Wax cutting onions for toppings at their taco bar.

Michelle Wax cutting onions for toppings at their taco bar.

Volunteering to Pay It Forward

Recognizing the support they received during their stays, the Neisler and Wax families decided to give back to RMHC. They initiated a Facebook fundraiser and raised over $300 to order essential items off the House’s wish list. The list included comforting items like mac and cheese cups, pop-tarts, ramen noodles, canned soup, pancake mix, pots, pans, and individual bags of chips – items that they themselves had relied upon during their stays. On August 2, the Neisler and Wax families prepared a taco bar with fruit and cookies as a dessert for the families at the House, intending to provide the same care and comfort that they once received.

Pantry items and pans donated by the Neisler family, Wax family, and friends of both.

Pantry items and pans donated by the Neisler family, Wax family, and friends of both.

The Impact of Volunteering at RMHC

Katie Neisler emphasized the difference volunteers make in the lives of families during trying times, saying, “When you’re in the situation of having a kid in the hospital, you’re just trying to live to the next moment and survive. Not having to worry about what you’re eating or where you’re sleeping takes something off your plate and allows you to focus on your child.” The families’ own experiences highlighted the practical benefits, such as having access to a fridge full of snacks and leftovers, which were invaluable during their stay.

Giving Back as a Way of Life

The Neisler and Wax families are no strangers to giving back, as they understand the significance of supporting others in need. Jordan Wax, a volunteer firefighter, and the families’ involvement in thankless jobs further underscore their commitment to making a difference. For them, volunteering at RMHC has become an essential part of their lives.

Jordan Wax preparing the meat for their taco bar.

Jordan Wax preparing the meat for their taco bar.

Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio holds immense value for families facing medical challenges. The Neisler and Wax families’ personal experiences serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of providing a supportive and caring environment for families during difficult times. By volunteering at RMHC, individuals can offer a ray of hope and help alleviate the burden for these families, creating a community of compassion and selflessness. As Katie Neisler eloquently stated, “RMHC to us is just a blessing of a resource.” And through volunteering, they, too, have become a blessing to others.

Cooking meals at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio is a great way to give back to families in their time of need. To sign up to cook a meal, please visit: https://calendly.com/rmhc-meal-calendar. 

From Hope to Generosity: The Myers Family’s RMHC Story

From Hope to Generosity: The Myers Family’s RMHC Story

In 2015, the Myers family’s world turned upside down when they faced a daunting medical journey with their precious daughter, Scarlett. Born prematurely at just 30 weeks, weighing a mere 2 lbs, Scarlett’s delicate health demanded expert care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Ebeid Children’s Hospital in Toledo. It was during this tumultuous time that Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio stepped in as an unwavering pillar of support, providing far more than just a place to stay. The Myers family’s experience at RMHC became a testament to the power of compassion, unity, and hope amidst life’s darkest moments.

Scarlett Myers weighed 2lbs at birth in 2015.

Scarlett Myers weighed 2lbs at birth in 2015.

A Family in Need of Support

As little Scarlett fought in the NICU, her mother, Allison Myers, was confined to bed rest at Ebeid Children’s Hospital two weeks prior to her birth. For the Myers family, the road ahead was daunting, with Jerry, Scarlett’s father, having to return to work in Spencerville, Ohio. The over hour-and-a-half distance separating them from Toledo only added to their distress, but their lives took an unexpected turn when they found refuge in RMHC.

A Home-Away-From-Home

RMHC offered the Myers family far more than just a place to stay; it became their sanctuary, their home away from home. A respite from the uncertainty that loomed in the hospital corridors, RMHC provided comfort, warmth, and a sense of belonging. As they settled into their temporary abode, Allison felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. Being in such close proximity to Scarlett allowed her to be present for every milestone and struggle, knowing that her little warrior was never alone.

Jerry, Scarlett, and Allison Myers

Jerry, Scarlett, and Allison Myers. Celebrating Scarlett’s birthday at RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

A Beacon of Hope

Amidst the sea of uncertainty, the families and staff at RMHC became an unwavering beacon of hope for Allison. With Spencerville feeling a world away, her hospital visits were often solitary, leaving her feeling isolated and scared. However, within the walls of RMHC, she found a compassionate community that understood her fears and offered a listening ear. The fear that once consumed her heart now felt lighter, for RMHC became more than just a place—it became a family that held them together when everything seemed to be falling apart.

Cherished Memories of the Old House

The Myers family reminisces fondly about the old Ronald McDonald House, with its cozy ambiance and unique character. It felt like stepping into a loving embrace—a place where their worries were temporarily lifted, replaced by a sense of togetherness. Even though the new House was completed in the same year, there was a special charm to the old one, an intangible magic that etched a lasting impression on their hearts.

Gratitude and Giving Back

For the Myers family, RMHC was a lifeline during Scarlett’s NICU journey. Through tearful eyes, Allison expressed her immense gratitude, “Without RMHC, we would have been in trouble. I was not going home while my baby was in the hospital.” RMHC became their lifeline, offering hope when hope seemed scarce. And now, as a way to honor that hope and pay it forward, they return each year on Scarlett’s birthday, bearing gifts and love for current families at the Ronald McDonald House.

What makes these visits even more special is Scarlett’s infectious joy in giving back. Her eyes light up as she joins her family in delivering pizza and cupcakes, knowing that she is spreading happiness to those who need it the most. Her heart brims with compassion, and she eagerly participates in collecting aluminum pull tabs to support the pantry at RMHC, understanding that even the smallest gesture can make a difference.

The Myers family celebrating Scarlett's birthday in 2022.

The Myers family celebrating Scarlett’s birthday in 2022.

As they walk through the doors of the House on Scarlett’s birthday, the Myers family and little Scarlett embody the essence of love, unity, and resilience. In the midst of their own journey, they extend a helping hand, providing comfort and support to families facing similar trials. Their selflessness showcases the enduring spirit of RMHC—an ever-expanding circle of care and compassion that continues to ripple out into the world.

On Saturday, July 29, the Myers family once again made the hour-and-a-half trip up to Toledo with pizza, cupcakes, love, and smiles, standing as a symbol of the remarkable support that Ronald McDonald House Charities offers to families in their times of need. And as their story touches the hearts of readers, may it ignite a spark of compassion within each one of us—to support, to embrace, and to hold each other up when life presents its most challenging moments. Let us follow in Scarlett’s footsteps and spread love and kindness wherever we go, for it is through acts of giving back that we find strength, healing, and hope.

Consider supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio so we can provide a home-away-from-home for families traveling to Toledo for their sick children. Click the donate button in the bottom right corner to support RMHC today!

Finding Home Away from Home: A Family’s Journey at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio

Finding Home Away from Home: A Family’s Journey at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio

When life takes unexpected turns and little ones face health challenges, having a supportive and comforting environment can make all the difference. The Shamplo family from Pittsford, Michigan, knows this firsthand. Over the years, they have relied on the caring embrace of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio during their children’s hospital stays.

Amanda Shamplo, the mother, not only experienced RMHC through her children’s stays but also had her own encounter with the House during her childhood.

“Before becoming a parent myself, I had a firsthand experience with the Ronald McDonald House in Toledo. My brother was born prematurely, and our family used RMHC during his time in the hospital. I remember the sense of comfort and support we received. Little did I know that years later, I would return to the House with my own children and find solace in the same loving environment.”

In 2016, Amanda’s youngest son, Clifford, was born with gastroschisis, marking the beginning of their journey with RMHC.

“We were in a state of shock during that stay. I couldn’t hold Clifford, and I thought we had lost him. But when we arrived at Ronald McDonald House, we felt a sense of relief. I remember sitting on the big couch, thinking, ‘This is really happening. I’m at the House now.’ It smelled good, and I felt comfortable. We knew they would be there for us. I was ready to sleep in my truck if I had to. The staff always kept my mind at ease, checking in on my mental state and treating us like family.”

Their journey continued in subsequent years, as Amanda shares.

“In 2017, our second son, Marshall, was born prematurely. We spent six to eight weeks at the hospital, and RMHC once again became our home. Having a child to take between Ronald McDonald House and the hospital was nerve-wracking. The staff’s support and the proximity to the hospital made a world of difference. We felt the love and care every step of the way.”

Over time, the Shamplo family faced additional challenges, with Marshall experiencing RSV at six months old and their youngest son, Hayze, needing medical attention shortly after birth. Amanda shares the impact RMHC had on their journey.

“Hayze was flown from Hillsdale because he was born sunny side up and took his first breath with fluid. Even though his stay at RMHC was shorter, the impact was just as profound,” says Amanda. Now, almost three years old, Hayze embodies the joy and resilience nurtured within the walls of the House.

Reflecting on their experiences, Amanda highlights the most beneficial aspects of their stays at RMHC.

“The presence of other children was wonderful for our family. Our kids enjoyed the playground and playroom, giving them a sense of normalcy during challenging times. The holidays were especially heartwarming. RMHC took care of us, providing gift baskets and making us feel special. But beyond all that, it’s the feeling that RMHC made us feel like family. They acknowledged that something was wrong in our lives but reassured us that we could get through it together. They knew we were going through a really difficult time.”

In the midst of their own struggles, the Shamplo family has found an appreciation for giving back.

“I do a fundraiser on Facebook for birthdays and we collect pounds of aluminum pull tabs for RMHC. It’s a small way for us to show our gratitude and support the House that has been there for us in our darkest moments.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio has become more than just a place to stay for the Shamplo family.

“It’s not easy to describe what RMHC means to us. It’s a home away from home, a major part of our lives. Even though our boys may not remember their stays, we always say that was their first House. The impact of RMHC on our family is immeasurable.”

The Shamplo family’s journey at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio exemplifies the profound impact that a supportive and nurturing environment can have on families facing medical challenges. Through their own experiences and Amanda’s personal connection with RMHC, they have witnessed firsthand the care, love, and sense of community that the House provides.

As you reflect on the Shamplo family’s story, consider the power of your support in making a difference for families in need. By donating or getting involved with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, you can help provide comfort, hope, and a home away from home for families during their most challenging times. Click HERE or the donate button in the bottom right corner to support families staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.

Balliett Family – 25 nights at RMHC of NW Ohio

Balliett Family – 25 nights at RMHC of NW Ohio

Like most parents, Angela and Dusten expected to take newborn Willow home. However, after delivery, baby Willow was experiencing issues with feeding and could not keep food down. Angela and Dusten live in Van Wert, Ohio, and were transported to the NICU at the Ebeid Children’s Hospital for further testing.

“Living hours away and having your baby transferred to a NICU hits you hard,” says Angela. “It’s a very stressful and scary situation seeing hospital staff transport your baby. I just want to know what is wrong with my child.”

Upon arrival at Ebeid Children’s Hospital and after multiple tests, doctors found the cause of the issue to be Hirschsprung’s disease, which affects the large intestine at birth. The treatment for this disease requires surgery.

Living 2 hours away from where baby Willow will be undergoing surgery, Angela leaned on her family for advice.

“I have stayed at RMHC of Central Ohio before for my daughter, and my sister mentioned to me that there is a Ronald McDonald House in Toledo,” says Angela. That is where Angela and Dusten’s journey begins with RMHC of Northwest Ohio.

For 25 nights, Angela, Dusten, and other family members would call Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio home. “This place has been amazing to us. It gave us peace of mind knowing we were that close to her without having to sleep in the hospital,” says Dusten. “The meals were amazing, and it helped relieve a lot of stress and anxiety that we would have had if we drove back and forth each day.”

After surgery, baby Willow has been doing much better. She has been healing, and post-op appointments have indicated she’s heading in the right direction!

Studies show that families in a Ronald McDonald House report more positive hospital experiences and a greater ability to participate in their child’s care. “The Ronald McDonald House helped us feel like we were at home. It was our home away from home for over a month,” Dusten thankfully explains.

Consider donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio to support families traveling to Toledo for their child’s medical crisis. Click HERE to support RMHC of Northwest Ohio.