For now, T’nesha Davis calls the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill home. Her son, just a baby, was born 25 weeks early, weighing only 1 pound, 7 ounces.
While he receives critical medical care at UNC Hospitals, Davis said the Ronald McDonald House has proven to be a sanctuary for her family.
She watched on Tuesday as ground was broken on an expansion project that will enable the House to serve more families in need and provide them with support that goes beyond a place to call home.
“Knowing that this place is here is a blessing. It is a blessing,” Davis said.
She was pregnant with her second son and went in for a routine checkup when she found out some news that would change her family’s life.
The doctor told her that she had severe preeclampsia, a rapidly progressive life-threatening condition that affects both the mother and unborn child. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.
Doctors told Davis that emergency surgery was necessary or both could lose their lives.
She traveled from Fayetteville, where she lives with her young son and husband who serves in the military, to Chapel Hill to seek medical care at UNC Hospitals.
After her successful operation, she later needed somewhere to stay while her infant son received the essential care he needed in Chapel Hill.
“It is not a place where it is a pity party. They are actually here to support you and to help you through this time. You can make a lot of new friends here. Don’t come in thinking that it is just a doomsday because your child is in the hospital. They are going to keep you going and uplift you,” Davis said.
Davis said in a matter of months, the House’s staff and fellow families became her support system.
“I wouldn’t have been able to be without my son and be far away from him. I’m a hands-on mom. I cry when I can’t be with him during the day because I have to be with my other son. But, having them [the Ronald McDonald House staff] and knowing that they can watch him—it’s a big extended family,” Davis said.
The House serves any family with a child who is receiving treatment at a local hospital and lives outside of a 35-miles radius of the medical facility, regardless of their ability to pay.
Though the House has helped more than 2,200 families of seriously ill or injured children, nearly 800 families are turned away each year due to lack of space. And this demand will only increase in the coming years as UNC Hospitals continues to expand.
In an effort to meet the growing need for its services, the House celebrated its groundbreaking ceremony on planned expansion that will double the facility’s current square-footage and increase the number of rooms from 29 to 53.
Shelley Day, Executive Director of the House, said it became apparent in 2009 that the expansion would be necessary.
“Frankly, we are all looking forward to late Spring 2015 when we will open and be able to say to every family who needs us, ‘Come on down, we have room,’” Day said.
Day was joined by other members of the community, including Woody and Jean Durham, to commemorate the beginning of a project that will impact so many lives. Durham was the longtime play-by-play radio announcer of the UNC basketball and football teams and the “Voice of the Tar Heels.”
The Durhams served as honorary co-chairs of the fundraising efforts for the expansion.
The House is also making history with a pediatrics palliative care pilot program called, “Loving Hands,” which provides care for children facing the end of their lives through a partnership with Hospice. It’s the first of its kind in North Carolina and in the global Ronald McDonald House network.
For more information on how you can donate to the Ronald McDonald House expansion project, visit the “MakeRoomForHope.com” website.http://chapelboro.com/news/non-profit-news/breaking-ground-ronald-mcdonald-ch-celebrates-future-expansion-serve-families/
For the second year, The Ronald McDonald House is holding a Storybook Gala in Chapel Hill, to benefit all the great work the organization does for North Carolina families.
This time, it’s the “Storybook Gala in Wonderland” at the Carolina Club on Saturday April 5, and it promises to be a wondrous event.
Guests will be served a spectacular three-course meal, and mingle with the likes of The Red Queen, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, and of course, Alice.
UNC football Head Coach Larry Fedora will also be there.
“Last year was our inaugural Storybook Gala event,” says Elizabeth Hullender, Director of Special Events and Marketing for The Ronald McDonald House. “And every year, the concept is, we will pick a different storybook to base the ‘gala’ theme on.
“Last year’s was ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and this year, we chose ‘Alice in Wonderland.’”
There’s a wealth of material that comes out of Lewis Carroll’s classic – giant mushrooms, Mad hatters, and tea parties, just for a start.
There’ll be some special lighting to help transform The Carolina Club into Wonderland, and artists from Playmakers have volunteered to make it all come to life.
All this food and entertainment is to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. The event runs from 6 until 11 p.m.
“Guests will be greeted by Alice herself,” says Hullender, “and will walk down a black-and-white checkerboard into a ballroom, where they will enjoy cocktail hour and passed hors’ douvres for the first hour-and-a-half.”
Dinner will be served at 7:30. That will be followed by a presentation of upcoming plans for Chapel Hill’s Ronald McDonald House in the near future.
“We’re breaking ground on April 22nd on a 24,000-square-foot expansion,” says Hullender. “We’re going to be doubling in size.”
Currently, the house serves 2,200 families a year, but has to turn away 800. Hullender says she’s hopeful that won’t be the case once expansion is completed.
After the presentation, the gala kicks into high gear at 9 p.m., when The Fantasy Band from Rock Hill, SC plays soulful music for dancing guests over the next two hours.
There will be items up for auction, and Diamonds Direct has donated a ruby-and-diamond necklace to be raffled off to one lucky guest.
It goes without saying that it’s all for a great cause.
“Since 1988, The Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill has provided families from all over North Carolina and beyond a place to stay when their child is being treated at North Carolina Children’s Hospital,” says Hullender.
The Ronald McDonald House provides guests not only with shelter, but with food, activities, and transportation to-and-from the hospital.
The House is always happy to take drop-off donations of common household items such as paper towels and laundry detergent at its 101 Old Mason Farm Road location.
The Carolina Club is located at 550 Stadium Drive. Tickets are available at rmh-chapelhill.org. or at 919-913-2045.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/ronald-mcdonald-house-holds-wonderland-themed-gala-april/
CHAPEL HILL – The UNC Board of Trustees appointed new members to the serve on the UNC Board of Visitors, an active volunteer group at the University. The new members come from alumni and friends who will participate in a 175-member board that actively assists the Chancellor and Board of Trustees with activities ranging from marketing and recruiting to fundraising.
Members of the Board of Visitors also serve as ambassadors between the school and their communities informing both about what is going on. The members serve four-year terms, and every year as members rotate off, new ones are elected. This year, Patty Hill and William Moore of Chapel Hill have been selected to serve on the Board of Visitors from the Orange County area. Beginning July 1, the members will take their spot on the Board chaired by Dr. Michael Zollicoffer of Baltimore.
Thursday, the Carolina Kids Classic celebrates its 25th anniversary of the CKC golf tournament. Since its inception in 1988, the Carolina Kids Classic has raised more than three million dollars to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Proceeds from the Golf Tournament go towards helping these programs.
The Golf tournament takes place at Finely Golf Course with top-name participants including: UNC Basketball coach Roy Williams, UNC Football Coach Larry Fedora, Former UNC basketball star Phil Ford, Co-founder of CKC Woody Durham, and a 14-year old patient from the N.C Children’s Hospital.
For more information on the Tournament contact Danielle Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org, or for more information on the Ronald McDonald House visit www.rmh-chapelhill.org and NC Children’s Hospital visit www.ncchildrenshospital.org.
Deputy Fire Chief Matt Lawrence has received an award for Outstanding Leadership from North Carolina Safe Kids. Chief Lawrence served as the Orange Chapter of Safe Kids Chairperson and worked to improve the program in the area. He kept the coalition between the fire department and Safe Kids going while also coordinating the first Orange County Summer Safety Event.
Chief Lawrence dedicated much of his career to improving safety for all citizens and is honored by this award for his work and effort. Safe Kids Worldwide is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries to children, the number one killer of kids.
For more information on Safe Kids visit www.safekids.org.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/unc-board-of-visitors-carolina-kids-classic-chfd-deputy-chief-outstanding-leadership/