Ronald McDonald House – Bakersfield
Diana and Tom’s “WHY”
I wanted to let each of you know that I recently joined the board of the Ronald McDonald House here in Bakersfield. As you know the house is located on the campus of Memorial Hospital. Our mission is to provide comfort, care and support to families and children throughout Kern County. Since opening in 2009, more than 4000 guests have stayed at the “small but mighty” Ronald McDonald house.
Our vision is a community where children and their families embrace life and healing with a sense of hope, enthusiasm, courage and joy. On the campus of Memorial Hospital, The Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House is a place where the families of Kern County pediatric or NICU patients can go to take a break from the hospital environment. It is a “HOME AWAY FROM HOME” that gives the non-hospitalized part of the family a sense of normalcy in a time when their world is upside down.
Tom and I have a “WHY” for our involvement with the RMH. Many years ago, we had trained therapy dogs and visited Memorial hospital once a week. Soon the Ronald McDonald House opened and we would always plan to end our weekly visits there. It was very impressive; a beautiful kitchen, family room, well-furnished bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry. We met many families staying at the RMH and each had sad stories. However, the stories were filled with hope for the future of their little ones. It was at that time, we learned we could make a home cook meal for the residences. Needless to say, we have been cooking and delivering meals once a month for several years.
Our original “WHY” started after the birth of our first son Tommy, in 1979. This is the “WHY” that was God’s way of eventually guiding our path to the Ronald McDonald House. When Tommy was around two weeks old, he started projectile vomiting and we ended up in the hospital with him in late November. He was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis. Unfortunately, he needed stomach surgery. They did not have chairs in the rooms for parents to stay overnight. Since I was nursing him, we wanted to be close to hold our baby frequently. We made the decision to stay in our van in the parking lot. It was cold and damp but we were close and we were a new family. Today, the Ronald McDonald House would have provided the needed comfort for us.
As you know, Kern County geographically is large and rural. Our hospital accommodates families from many of the farming communities. It is simply not possible for them to travel daily the distances when a child is hospitalized. Memorial Hospital has a state-of-the-art Pediatrics ICU and NICU.
In 2018, the house had begun a major renovation, expanding into two homes adding three more guest rooms, adding a napping room and remodeling the existing home. The new facility opened in June of 2019 and is the world’s 286th Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, which also operates houses in Loma Linda, Los Angeles, Orange and Pasadena, and has one under development in Long Beach. The house was remodeled a no costs by a local construction company.
The Ronald McDonald House Charity Walk for Kids is our major fundraiser. Because of the restrictions set in place by the CDC and others due to the Covid 19 virus, this year’s event will take a different look – VIRTUAL. Our goal is the same, to raise $250,000 for our local house.
I’m inviting you to join my team to help raise funds to meet our goal. My goal is to raise $5000. My team will hopefully walk May 30th around Lake Ming. The only caveat is..... if the virus has passed. Otherwise, it will be virtual and how that will look will be amazing. Thank you for your donation of any amount in helping meet my goal and supporting my team.