Category Archives: Uncategorized

Merry Christmas text on photo of Christmas store

“Home Away from Home” for the Holidays

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The holiday season is stressful enough… add in a pandemic… and a sick child, and you have many families with a big weight on their shoulders. We want to ease every burden a family may have while they’re staying with us and that includes Christmas shopping!  

As you walk into our conference room, you’re met with much more than a typical meeting space. There are shelves surrounding the walls and toys galore on each shelf. We make sure to have a little something for everyone as moms shop for sons, dads shop for daughters, or sons and daughters shop for moms and dads. Holiday movies play in the background as families enter, wide-eyed and thankful for the experience to choose whatever they’d like for the people they love most – family!  

During one shopping trip with a family, a mom looked over wide-eyed and bewildered and said “This is all donated?” It’s an honor to help parents look for things they know their children will love. “He loves LEGOs so I think he will love this LEGO set,” the mom said as she looked for a gift for her middle son.  

We were even able to share some Christmas spirit with the families using our Ronald McDonald Family Room at Essentia Health when we delivered a bundle of gifts for each family! Each basket was filled with gifts for the whole family – patients, siblings, and parents. 

This experience is made possible by the tremendous support of so many businesses and individuals in this community! Without you, we could not give the biggest gift of the season: peace of mind.  

We wish you a very Merry Christmas, from our joy-filled House to yours!  

 

Baby in NICU

We’re Celebrating Prematurity Awareness Month!

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This Prematurity Awareness Month, we’d like to shine some awareness on so many families who leave the hospital after giving birth without their babyDuring one of the scariest and uncertain times of new parents’ livesRonald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley is there with more than just a bed to sleep in. This month is near and dear to our hearts because 44% of the families we served in 2019 were here because of their premature baby who was fighting every day in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  

Through their stay, we are here to offer support and want to make sure that all a family has to worry about is helping their childMany of the parents we serve did not have time to prepare at home before their baby arrived. We hope to ease some of those strains by providing some essentials parents may need in our Petite Boutique! Here, parents can fill a bag of items they may not have had time to grab because their bundle of joy made an early appearance into the world. Preemies need smaller clothes and diapers so many families grab those items, as well as blankets, toys, bottles and so much more! Thanks to community donations, this room is a saving grace for families as they transition into their new home routine. Together, we can give every family the best possible start.  

If you’d like to help support families with babies born prematurely, please check out our wishlist for the Petite Boutique!

Stripes #forRMHC from past RMHC Families

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We want to say thank you to everyone who participated last week in showing their support #forRMHC. We want to say an extra thank you to past RMHC families who allowed us to share their photos & stories during the week. These families have lived through the trials and triumphs that come with the NICU journey. Although they each have a different story, one thing unites them: they all recharged each night at the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo ready to face whatever the next day brought them.  

 

Bata  

Alex and Sydney Bata’s birth of their son Lincoln wasn’t easy despite having no problems during pregnancy. Lincoln was immediately airlifted to Sanford Health in Fargo after being intubated because he wasn’t breathing and had signs of seizure activity so doctors placed him on a “cooling mat” where his little body had a better chance of recoveryFor 11 days, the Bata family had privacy to deal with their traumatic circumstances. They were able to worry about Lincoln instead of worrying about whether they were going to be able to stay in Fargo which a choice no family should have to make.  

Two year old Lincoln wearing stripes socks

Lincoln is #forRMHC

Lincoln recently turned two and loves to help his dad in the tractor and play with the family dogs. He’s a healthy growing boy who proudly showed his stripes #forRMHC! 

Kezer 

The Kezer family is no stranger to advocating for RMHC. She was our featured family speaker at our golf tournament in 2019 where she talked about the blur of her son’s birth. Due to preeclampsia, doctors determined it was safer for her and her son if he were delivered at 35 weeks. William weighed 4 pounds, was in respiratory distress, and had to be delivered by emergency cesarean. His first 10 days were spent growing strong in the NICU. During this time, Beth found numerous comforts of home at the Ronald McDonald House.  

Beth is a wonderful advocate for RMHC after living through the experience. She continues to encourage people to collect their pop tabs or donate time, money or resources. “YOU are making a significant impact on the lives of so many families in our community who are going through the emotional turmoil of having sick children.” 

William wearing his striped socks surrounded by pop tabs

William is #forRMHC

Burley 

The words that Nicole and Travis used to describe RMHC were “life-giving. Togetherness. Community. Family.” When they checked in at 31 weeks, Nicole was battling high liver enzymes in relation to her type 1 diabetes. Thankfully, after a week and a half in the hospital, Nicole’s levels stabilized and doctors said they could be discharged if they stayed close to the hospital. With home being 100 miles away, they turned to RMHC. For 31 days, Nicole was close to appointments and had a sense of “home” as she waited for her baby to arrive.  

Exactly one year after the death of their baby Cameron, who was stillbornNikaia was born healthy at 8 pounds, 21 inches long, and had the same black wavy hair her brother had.  

The Burley Family gathered and wearing their stripes

The Burley’s are #forRMHC

Davidson 

Baby Jacob joined the world 6 weeks early after an unplanned emergency cesarean at Essentia Hospital in Fargo, ND. His parents had no more than the shirts on their backs when they arrive at Ronald McDonald House. During the 2019 Sweetheart Ball, Luke and Melinda retold their story to over 400 people and expressed how thankful they were for the donations of supplies for their newborn and themselves. During times of unrest, Melinda would go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea, and enjoy the solace that was around her.  

During a weekend when their 4 other children visited, they had a blast with the games, crafts, and snacks that they didn’t want to leave! The Ronald McDonald House became a place for the whole family to relax and set their minds at ease after full days in the NICU.  

Davidson's showing their stripes #forRMHC

The Davidson family is seeing stripes #forRMHC

Thank you post with golfers

We had a swingin’ good time fore RMHC

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A month that starts with fireworks is sure to be exciting. This July, we held our 2020 RMHC of the Red River Valley Golf Tournament Presented by McDonald’s Restaurants a little differently than last year, and it was still a big hit!  

Admittedly, when we first started planning the tournament, we were nervous but on July 12, 13, & 14, 124 golfers took to the course at Meadows Golf Course in Moorhead, MN, to help support the RMHC mission! With the generosity of our community, we were able to offer swag bags full of goodies, a bingo card to win a drawing, and we encouraged use of the hashtag #ForeRMHC so we could follow along!  

To help share our mission, we added new hole signs with correlating fun facts about Ronald McDonald House & Ronald McDonald Family room. These included things such as: 

  • Hole 2: There are TWO living rooms & laundry rooms for families to relax, hang-out, and do some laundry. 
  • Hole 12: In 2015, a second Ronald McDonald House location was added in Fargo at 1330 18th Ave S, raising the capacity to TWELVE families. 
  • Hole 18: In 2018, we opened the new Ronald McDonald House that has an art room, game room, playroom, two kitchens, and so much more to better serve family needs. 

In total, we were able to raise over $29,000 towards keeping families together while they stay near to their critically ill child in the hospital. 

Recurring donations make a world of difference dad daughter donate

Monthly Donations Make a HUGE Difference!

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How many of us love convenience? No, I’m not talking about the convenience store down the road – although I do love them. I’m talking about the plethora of subscription-based services that automatically ship our deodorants, dog foods, and even toilet paper! What if I told you that your donations to keeping families close to their sick children could also be that convenient! 

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley hosts up to 17 families and provides a “home away from home” 365 days a year. Because of that, we rely heavily on donations from people just like you to help us support these families. Each dollar donated by someone who believes in our mission matters so much to us. 

RMHC – RRV has a monthly donation option so donating is easier than ever – there are no checks in the mail or reminder emails. For $20 a month, you can provide a free night stay to over 400 RMHC families a year. A monthly donor allows us to better predict our future plans which leads to a better overall organization.  

Here are some ways you can sign up to support families each month!  

  • Click here & specify how often you want to make your donation.  
  • Text RMHCFargo to 269-89 to sign up for monthly donations or Round Up your spare change on every purchase to generate a monthly donation! 
hand holding heart with RMHC logo and a support button

Buying local supports RMHC!

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As we face the uncertainty that has come with COVID-19, we have seen the power of community in the Fargo Moorhead area. We want to continue to support those who have supported us this past year. In February, we asked companies for their support in our Sweetheart Ball. Listed below are the companies that made our Annual Sweetheart Ball a huge success!  

Did you know that you can support these local businesses and support RMHC at the same time?! Check out more information on our NEW Round-up program here or simply Text RMHCFargo to 269-89 and connect your debit or credit card so you can start collecting your spare change for a donation to help families stay together.  

So many businesses have come up with innovative ways to stay open to their customers during this time! 

Support Local + Do Good = Win Win Win  

 

Beauty  

Adae Salon

Affinity Day Spa and Salon

Altaire Clinic

Blonde Ambition

Blush Salon

Catalyst 

Edward Arthur & Co Salon 

Hair By Amy Rose

Josef’s School of Hair, Skin and Body

Salon Biz – Joelle King

 

Creative 

Chipper, LLC

Flint Group

Midwest Communications

Moroch

Tellwell

 

Drinks 

4e Winery 

Babb’s Coffee House

Beans Coffee Bar

Dr. Pepper

Fargo Brewing Co.

Front Street Taproom

Happy Harry’s

Johnson Brothers

Junkyard Brewing

Red River Coffee Co.

 

Eats 

Blackbird Woodfire Pizza

Breadsmith

Brewbird

Cakes by Althea

Costco

Hornbacher’s

Lucky Pub 13

McDonald’s Dakotas Association 

Porter Creek

Rustica Eatery

Sandy’s Donuts

Swanson Health

Wurst Bier Hall

 

Entertainment 

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

Fargo Pinball

Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation

Trollwood Performing Arts School 

 

Finance 

Alerus

Bell Bank – Pay It Forward

American Federal

Brady Martz & Associates P.C.

First Community Credit Union

First International Bank & Trust

Gate City Bank

Legacy Financial Partners

Payroll Express, Inc.

Eide Bailly, LLP

Cornerstone Bank

 

Fitness 

Courts Plus

Conquer Ninja Gyms – Fargo

Ecce Yoga

EHP Crossfit

Foss Swim School

 

Goods 

521 Handmade

Carrie’s Twisted Art

Burlap

Classic Floral

cLizzys

Clothes Mentor

dogIDs

Kayla Cash , Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant: 

Kittsona

Leelah and Lavender

Mall of America

Nodak Woodworks

Northside Quilters 

Rando

CI Sport

Scheels

Taea Made

The Fancy Dinosaur

Tin-Ker

West Acres Development

 

Health 

701 Chiropractic

Dakota Pediatric Dentistry

Eyes on Broadway

Family Healthcare

Friendly Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry

Essentia Health Optical

Essentia Health

Glacial Peak Cryotherapy

Maple Family Dentistry

Prairie St. John’s

Sanford Health

Strive Chiropractic

Strive Life Grand Forks

YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties

Center for Special Surgery

 

Hospitality 

Delta Hotels Fargo

Club House Hotels

Grand View Lodge

 

Jewelry 

Aerow

Bohemian Blu

Crown Jewels

Gunderson’s Jewelry

Karin Jacobson Design

Marc’s on Main

Riddle’s Jewelry

 

Law 

Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Turman & Lang, Ltd

Zimney Foster

 

Machinery 

Bobcat Company

Butler Machinery Company

R.D. Offutt Company/RDO Equipment

Snap-on Industrial

Titan Machinery

 

Photography  

Elena K Photography

Evan Bond Portraits

mjoy Photography

Scherling Photography

 

Service 

Accent Kitchen and Bath

Aldevron

Allegiance Fundraising Group

Arneson Ovsak Agency

Arvig

Atos

Animal Health Clinic

Baldinger – Sons Bakeries

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota

Bergseth Bros

Beverage Wholesalers 

BNG Team

Cullen Children’s Foundation

Dacotah Paper Co

Dakota Medical Foundation

Dale Carnegie of ND & MN

DS Beverages

Foss Architecture and Interiors

Grotberg Electric

Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home

Herzog Roofing

Laney’s

Microsoft

Midco

Mode Travel – Katie Kapel

Network Center Inc.

Office Sign Company

Otter Tail Corporation

RHI Supply

Preference Employment Solutions

Sunshine & 79

Universal Carpet Service, LLC

Wags N Whiskers Pet Grooming

Wags Stay N Play Boarding and Daycare

Xcel Energy

 

Sports 

Fargo Park District

FargoDome

Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks

King’s Walk Golf Course

Maple River Golf Club

Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Twins

Minot Country Club

Mizuno Golf

Moorhead Country Club

Oxbow Country Club

St. Paul Saints

The Preserve at Grand View Lodge

 

Happy National Women History Month!

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If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll know the story of two very influential women who had a hand in Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley (RMHCRRV)If you don’t follow us on Facebook, click here! We highlighted both Dr. Evans and Bev McAllister who shared a dream of keeping parents close to their critically ill child and focused on making sure their stresses were alleviated with a “home away from home.” Their dreams came to fruition in 1974 with the first RMHC and in 1982 with the first RMHCRRV.  

After 38 years and thousands of families, RMHCRRV needed to expand to accommodate the growing medical facilities and those families. In May of 2018, we closed the previous houses and opened our doors to the brand-new Ronald McDonald House, so everything is under one roof.  Inside the offices is the RMHC staff – a small staff compared to the large mission they all pursue every day. We’d like to introduce you to our all-woman staff as they are all huge components and work hard every single day to keep families together. Although we can’t be together right now due to coronavirus, we are still so thankful for each other! j

Get to know everyone and their favorite part of the job!

Jill Christopher – Jill has been leading as Executive Director for almost 10 years. Through her career, she has been leading the way on three houses, opened a Ronald McDonald Family Room, and has been championing RMHC along the way. She was drawn to RMHC because of a personal connection; her favorite part of her job is helping ease the burden and making some else’s situation with their sick child less stressful.  

Erica Johnsrud – Development Director, Erica has worked hand in hand with Jill for the fundraising needs of RMHC including raising over 5 million dollars to build the new House. In her role, she builds relationships with donors and sponsors, plans events like the Sweetheart Ball, and is the funny voice behind most of our tweets!  

In my position, I get the opportunity to connect the community with the mission of RMHC’s “home away from home” – aligning passion with purpose. At the same time, I get to see firsthand the gratefulness and the relief that the families have when they have a space they can call “home”. 

Ashley Peterson – To house over 400 families a year, we need to ensure everything is running smoothly. Ashley, Director of Operations, is the mastermind that keeps everything from the elevator to the air conditioning running. She is also our volunteer coordinator, welcoming more than 1000 volunteers a year.  

Working with people who care deeply about our mission and making families feel like they are at home when they stay at the House or are visiting the Family Room. 

Kelly Binfet – Assisting Ashley is our Operations Assistant Kelly who has been with RMHC for 5 years. She ensures the house is spotless for families, directs volunteers, and participates in community outreach by going into the school to teach kids about our pop tab program!  

I love that our strengths are always encouragedWe are supported, listened to, and we laugh a lot together. As a small-sized staff, we do just as many amazing things as a company with many people! Our part-time family services staff and volunteers are SO helpful to our families and making our families feel at home.  Our staff has so many talents; The ability to use people’s gifts and get them in the right positions and encourage them to grow and change and learn has always been important to our team. 

Lane Pereboom – Lane, Director of Family Services, joined the team in June and has been an amazing addition to the team. Her office is the first-place families stop when they are checking in. She oversees our part-time staff and interns and ensures families have the support and resources they need to get through their hospital stays.  

Our families come to us at some of the scariest, most stressful and uncertain times, and we meet them with support, encouragement, and resources. We provide fun spaces and activities to normalize the hospital and medical experience. Our staff all provides “the little things” that make RMHC feel like home.   

Alex Kizima – Our newest staff member started in July and assists Erica as the Development Coordinator. She is the one who writes social medianewsletters, and this blog you are reading right now! Together, Erica and Alex plan the Sweetheart Ball and coordinate on Giving Hearts Day and the Golf Tournament.  

The support we receive from our community is truly humbling. When we ask for wish list items, people deliver. It makes my heart do a happy dance. I love being able to surprise families when we say we have the thing they are asking for. My hope is that all parents have support as they provide the best care for their child in the hospital.  

A BOO-tiful Day For Halloween!

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Tonight, we are amongst the many neighborhoods in the country that are stocking up on goodies and debuting their costumes. We aim to provide a home away from home which includes providing a sense of normalcy in our family’s lives – and since today is Halloween, we are hoping to provide a memorable holiday! 

The office was decorated and had signs welcoming families so they knew to trick-or-treat through the offices in the House. Each person got a bag for treats and the celebration started at 9 am and people could trick-or-treat until midnight.

Trick-or-treat welcome

Even our Heart Warmers were dressed up for the occasion as they passed out some goodies. Kids faces lit up as they received different goodies from each office! Some received play-doh, crafts, or slime. 

  

Our staff as the true princesses they are: Ashley as Cinderella, Erica as Ariel, Jill as Snow White, Alex as Merida, Lane as Belle 

 

Party City generously donated costumes for kids staying in the house and NICU held a costume decorating class for parents. It was so fun to have Luigi stop in, doesn’t his mustache look great?  

 

With donated pumpkins, families were able to help us decorate for the weeks approaching Halloween. It was so fun to see the painted pumpkins – We always have some artists under the roof.

 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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Have you ever wondered why the Childhood Cancer Awareness ribbon is gold? In 1997, a group of parents picked gold as the official color because it symbolizes how precious and resilient children are.   

As we move into September, we prepare for change: changing from tank tops to sweaters, changing grades in school, and the upcoming change of seasons. For some parents, their life changes with the words, “Your child has cancer.”   

Unfortunately, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the US. In our own House, 14% of the families we serve are here based on a cancer diagnosis. To come together and acknowledge the thousands of families affected by a cancer diagnosis, September is designated as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.   

If the emotional toll and heartache on a parent aren’t enough during this time, the financial burden may come in second. At the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, we are focused on the simple idea that nothing else should matter while a family is healing their child. These parents are changing and evolving their new “normal” and we are here to provide unwavering support.  

With the help of our donors, we were able to provide the Stehley family a “home away from home. They stayed with us for 38 nights while their young son Mason received cancer treatments. The House was a much-needed getaway from the hospital, nurses, and machines. “It’s just nice that you can come here and not think about hospital and nurses and machines and you come here and they’re always positive. You go in and they’re always happy and talking to you. “  

Childhood cancers often have treatment protocols that can take up to two years while they work towards remission. During this time, parents may have to be absent from work and travel long distances for health care. We hope they can find a new normal during these changing times.  

If you are looking for a way to help change a family’s life, you are in luck. We have some great suggestions:   

  • Monetary donation – We ask that families pay $20 per night for their room, but no one is turned away for their inability to pay.   
  • Time donation – We have so many volunteer opportunities for everyone from baking to cleaning  
  • Pop tab donation – These small items make a huge impact when they are recycled   
  • Item donation – Our House is home to roughly 400 families a year which means we go through quite a bit of stuff. Items like laundry detergent, coffee, and toilet paper. We also have an arts & craft room as well as a playroom for families.   
  • Talk about childhood cancer  – Advocate for those affected by cancer. Sometimes bringing light to a topic is the best way to help.

If you’re interested more in the Stehley family, click here

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