From Lemons to Lemonade: One Gift Sweetens Many Lives

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What value can you place on a glass of lemonade? Dr. Arthur Burns understood the healing power that one kind gesture could have on his patients.

Dr. Burns dedicated more than 50 years of his life serving children as a pediatrician at Rainbow Babies & Children’s. Dr. Burns’ patients truly meant the world to him and his beloved wife of 70 years, Edwina.

I will be 65, and I still remember Dr. Burns. What a wonderful man. I seemed to get sick every Christmas and would have to go to the doctor. He never refused to see me even when my mom didn’t have money to pay. As an adult, I adopted two boys, and he took care of them. I will never forget. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful gift.
— F.T., Maple Heights, OH

When pediatric patients were having a particularly difficult time, Dr. Burns would visit them with a special treat—lemonade or hot chocolate. It was his mission to lift children’s spirits when they were at their lowest.

Dr. Burns passed away on February 26, 2016. He had lost Edwina a few years earlier. However, their legacy will continue to live on through charitable bequests they made in their estate plans to support organizations dedicated to providing pediatric care in the community.

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland was the beneficiary of $10,000 from the Burns estate. We wanted to find just the right way to honor Dr. & Mrs. Burns’ legacy at Rainbow. Volunteers at the Ronald McDonald Family Room deliver gifts and snacks to families who cannot leave the pediatric ward. Volunteers visit the patient rooms and spread a little joy. Each year the Happy Wheels cart at Rainbow delivers happiness to nearly 2,500 patients and their families. We could think of no better way to honor them and their love for children than naming the Happy Wheels cart in their memory for the next two years.

Guess what goody has been added to the cart…lemonade!

The Burns’ gift not only touches our families and children, it touches the lives of the volunteers who deliver to the rooms. Here’s an example of their impact.

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“My name is Dana Lowrie, and I am a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying nursing. You may have seen me either working the front desk or pushing the Happy Wheels Cart.

The Happy Wheels Cart is one of the most rewarding experiences I have been able to be a part of in the Family Room. Many parents that are staying with their children do not get the opportunity to come to the Family Room for various reasons. When we bring the Happy Wheels Cart onto the patient room floors, we are able to give the families light snacks and other items that help to make their day a little better. One of my favorite parts of Happy Wheels is getting to interact with the patients. I remember one time that I gave a child a teddy bear and it made her so happy, she could not stop smiling. Putting smiles on the faces of families and their children is one of the best parts of this job.

I feel that this room has given me the opportunity to impact families in a positive way. This room has also allowed me to see patients and families outside of the clinical setting and to get to know and help them in a different way.”

We were delighted at the opportunity to honor Dr. Burns through a donation to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Through this gift, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland has made it possible for Dr. Burns to continue to provide care, and hopefully a few smiles, to pediatric patients at Rainbow.
— Kelly Slattery, who facilitated the gift on behalf of Dr. Burns estate

Dr. & Mrs. Burns’ gift will impact nearly 5,000 Rainbow families. Visit our planned giving page, and learn how you too can make a difference in the lives of RMH families.

Language Library Embraces Diversity

Inclusion and celebrating diversity are important to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. In 2017, we served more than 830 families from 17 countries, 37 states, and 63 counties in Ohio. Many families we serve speak only their native language. Couple the difficulties in communicating simple needs with the uncertainty of a new area and caring for their child, families can have an overwhelming experience. Recognizing the importance of the Ronald McDonald House, Katie Cirincione, a junior at Westlake High School and Girl Scout member, wanted to help.

After learning about the House and the diversity of the families we serve, Katie decided to focus on the Ronald McDonald House for part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. The goal of the 80-hour service project was to create something that has a lasting impact on the community. Katie has loved foreign languages for as long as she can remember. For her project, she decided to use this love to help enrich and strengthen the cultural diversity found at the Ronald McDonald House. In September 2017, Katie began collecting the foreign language books that would be placed in two language libraries: one for Westlake Porter Public Library to help inspire others to learn a foreign language and the other for the Ronald McDonald House guests to enjoy.

Over the next several months, she received donated books from Westlake Porter Public Library, Half Price Books, Lorain County Community College, and family and friends. During the collection process, she learned more about languages she hadn't been exposed to and had discussions with friends about different cultures and topics they normally wouldn’t have explored.

The Ronald McDonald House staff was really appreciative, and I got really excited to learn more about the people who would get to use the language library!
— Katie Cirincione

With the shelves of her language library filled with books, Katie made a visit at the end of February to deliver the library to families at the House.

The language library, comprised of books in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, and other languages, is now proudly on display at the Ronald McDonald House and is helping the House feel more like home for our international guests. Katie hopes the libraries help inspire others to discover a love for language, one she hopes to continue to explore thoughout her life. Katie speaks Spanish fluently and is in her first year studying French. She would like to make a career using her skills in both languages.

Katie's Girl Scout Gold Award project officially ends with a Culture Fair at the Westlake Porter Public Library on Sunday, March 18, 2-4 pm. All are welcome to this free event where there will be a story hour in different languages, the language library will be on display, and people of different cultures within the community will host informational tables.

The Turner Family Gives Thanks

Sometimes dreams really do come true. On January 28, the Turner family from Sandusky received a surprise of a lifetime when Nino and his son, Zion, received tickets to the Cavs game from the Cavaliers ownership team. Little did they know that what they thought were regular seats turned out to be court side... right next to the Cavs bench!

The Turners are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Their oldest son, Jesiah, has been receiving treatment for water surrounding his brain, a condition he's had for nearly four years. 

Below are Bettyna Turner's words of thanks to the Cavaliers and the Ronald McDonald House for turning her family's dream into a reality.  

To the CAVS and the Ronald McDonald House,

I want share how much the Sunday, Jan. 28 CAVS tickets that were given to my husband, Nino, and our son, Zion, meant to my entire family. 

The day before the game I was leaving the hospital after visiting my 14-year-old son, Jesiah, who has been suffering with water on the brain for nearly four years. On the ride back to the Ronald McDonald House, where I am currently staying, I began having a conversation with God. I don’t really know if I was praying or just speaking out loud, but I chuckled to myself, and I began to remind God what HE is capable of: “God, I know you are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I can ask…” I went on to ask Him to give my husband, who is selfless and who works many hours to take care of us, something that his heart desired. I asked Him to sustain Zion, who is often left with family so that we can take care of his brother. Then, probably for the 10,000 time I asked for God to heal my son, Jesiah.

The Ronald McDonald House gave Nino and Zion those tickets, and I consider that to be the direct answer to my prayer the day before. Neither my husband nor my son has ever been to a CAVS game. My husband had repeatedly mentioned that he wished to go, but it has not been possible with the extended health crisis of our oldest son. When they got to the game they were escorted all the way down to the floor to sit. They sat right next to the players! My small words cannot quantify the experience you all gifted a father and son. Our entire world and family were so happy Nino and Zion, two people who humbly endure the bad things in life, were experiencing something that would have never happened without the generosity of the CAVS and the Ronald McDonald House! Thank you!

Jesiah, and I watched the game from his hospital room. He was so happy for his dad and his brother. As I write this, my eyes have tears. So many people who I cannot see and whom I do not know played a part in blessing my family with an unbelievable and unforgettable experience. Jeff Green took off his game shoes and gave my son his shoes! JR gave Zion his arm band. Derrick Rose signed an autograph and actually had a conversation with my husband. The way they were treated by everyone, the generosity of Jeff Green, JR Smith, and Derrick Rose is exceedingly and abundantly above what any of us could have asked. When the game was over, Zion brought Mr. Green’s game shoes to the hospital and put them on his brother's feet.

Jesiah has been sick for a long time. He’s had 36 brain surgeries, and a rare stomach cancer. He suffers with chronic pain, and my faith was wavering and my heart was so heavy. This experience has helped me to know that God sees my little family, He hears my little prayers, and He feels the pain of my broken heart. I am reassured that He is still answering prayers and creating miracles. The same way God answered my prayer for Nino and Zion is the same way I expect Him to perform a miracle and heal my son: Exceedingly and Abundantly above all that I can think to ask.

With love for being an essential part of my family’s blessings,
Bettyna Turner

Help us continue to serve families like the Turners. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is made possible because of the generosity and support of our community. Just $20 helps to cover the cost of a family to stay at the House for a night. 

Ryan Takes the Court

Since the day he was born, Chris and Amie Delavega and their family and friends knew their son was special. Five-year-old Ryan Delavega was born prematurely and spent his first couple of weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Over the following year, Chris and Amie noticed something about their son was different. Ryan’s physical development wasn’t on pace with their daughter Sadie when she was born and other babies Ryan’s age. He was having particular trouble with one side of his body. Looking for answers, Chris and Amie sought counsel from their pediatrician to diagnose Ryan’s condition, and Ryan was started on physical therapy.  After months of testing, Ryan’s physical therapist, Deborah Langendoen, noticed similarities between Ryan and some of her other patients and suggested Ryan be tested for cerebral palsy. The Delavegas finally had the answer they were looking for. Ryan was one year old.

With a diagnosis set, Ryan began an extensive physical therapy program with Deborah so he could get a jump on developing the necessary motor skills that would help support muscle functionality and growth. It was during this time when everyone else who met Ryan learned what his family already knew. Ryan was special, he was strong, and he was driven. During his rigorous three-hours-a-week physical therapy sessions and daily at-home regimen, Ryan never let his situation get the best of him, keeping a positive attitude and inspiring others. Along the way he made strides toward his goal of being able to walk on his own, eventually gaining the ability to use a walker.

While Ryan became stronger in his therapy sessions, Chris, Amie, and their daughter Sadie became strong advocates for cerebral palsy awareness. The Delavegas, along with support from family and friends, created a “Raising for Ryan” running team and a “Friends of Raising for Ryan Delavega” Facebook page to keep people connected to Ryan’s progress and to raise awareness and support for people impacted by cerebral palsy. They now have the largest running team for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland’s Race to Empower 5k.

In 2017, after years of progress, Ryan began showing signs of regression. In an effort to turn the tide back toward progress, Ryan was selected by Dr. Park of St. Louis Children’s Hospital to have SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) surgery. The goal of the surgery was to give Ryan the best possible chance to be an independent walker. With surgery set for December, the Delavegas made plans for their stay in St. Louis. Looking for a place to call home for a few days, the family was connected to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis by the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. There they found a welcoming staff and the support and resources they would need over the following days while Ryan underwent his operation.

I really can’t say enough great things about our St. Louis Ronald McDonald House experience. My hope is no parents have to use a Ronald McDonald House, but when they do, they will see just how wonderful your work is. St. Louis Ronald McDonald House staff was amazing but the ability to leave the hospital for a shower in peace, sit and relax, and grab a meal was priceless.
— Chris Delavega

Dwyane Wade holds Ryan's hand during National Anthem (Photo: Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer)

After a successful surgery and return trip home, the family was surprised with tickets to the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in January. Through a partnership between the Cavaliers and the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, the tickets included the opportunity for Ryan and Sadie to walk on to the court and stand with the Cavaliers players during the National Anthem. Ryan had made incredible progress following surgery and at the Cavs game was able to walk onto the court and stand next to one of the biggest stars in the NBA, Dwyane Wade. As the National Anthem began, Dwyane reached down and gently took Ryan’s hand to hold during the Star-Spangled Banner. The kind gesture created a special moment in Ryan’s life that he and his family will remember forever.

“The Cavs game for the kids was just incredible,” said Chris about the experience. The moment, captured by Gus Chan of The Plain Dealer, was shared on Cavs social media thousands of times, and Ryan won the hearts of people all over Cleveland. What made the moment even more memorable was having Ryan’s physical therapist, Deborah, able to assist Ryan as he made his way to Dwayne Wade’s side.

Each day Ryan continues to improve, but he still has a long way to go. The family is planning a trip back to St. Louis soon for what should be his final surgery. In the meantime, Chris and Amie have offered to pay it forward and help the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland through volunteering their time to make a difference.

We need to show our appreciation for the generosity the Ronald McDonald House showed us when we needed it most.
— Chris and Amie Delavega

Through the generosity and support of our community the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is able to be a place families like the Delavegas call home during difficult times. To make a difference in the lives of the families we serve, please consider making a donation by clicking the button below.

New Site Serves Ohio Families

Helen Rapp understands how can make a family's journey easier.

Many families face common challenges when they return home from the hospital. These include learning about and accessing available services and supports, as well as connecting with families in situations similar to their own. That’s why we created The site connects a diverse and passionate community of families, young adults, professionals and organizations to:

  • share resources that support children and empower caregivers, families and young adults, prenatal to age 25;
  • link users to organizations and events matching their needs, interests, and location;
  • encourage community connections and development of support networks to promote health and well-being;
  • serve as a resource and reference tool for timely, reliable, easy-to-access information; and
  • inspire hope, confidence, and self-determination.

Features include:

  • Comprehensive Resource Directory
  • Events Calendar
  • Helpful Guides
  • Interactive Map
  • User Content Contribution
  • Free Monthly Newsletter

A Place to Lay One's Head: New Hospitality Suite to Serve MetroHealth Families


In many cases, families of pediatric patients are unable to leave the hospital, sometimes for many days at a time. The Ronald McDonald Family Room at MetroHealth Medical Center provides these families a place to rest and recharge just steps from their child’s treatment room. Open 9 am to 9 pm daily, the Family Room is equipped with a lounge area, full kitchenette stocked with snacks and beverages, children’s play area, computer with internet access, and other things that bring comfort to families so they can remain strong for their children. 

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming opening of the Ronald McDonald Hospitality Suite at MetroHealth Medical Center, which will provide crucial overnight respite for families of Cleveland’s most vulnerable patients. The Suite will feature four private rooms spacious enough to accommodate up to three guests. Each will be equipped with a mini-fridge and welcome basket with snacks, water, writing tablet, tissues, and resource information.

The rooms will share a quiet lounge area with a TV, comfortable La-Z-Boy furniture, vending machines, and a restroom with shower. Fresh linens, towels, and toiletry items will be provided. Guests will continue to have access to the Ronald McDonald Family Room during the day.

The Ronald McDonald Hospitality Suite at MetroHealth is the first in Ohio, and is expected to serve hundreds of people per year, free-of-charge. Since our Family Room at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital expanded in September to include two respite rooms, it has already hosted more 125 overnight guests.

One of the first to benefit from this service was a new mother, who described her experience as “…a blessing. It was so helpful and comforting to be able to be with [my son] during the day and overnight for his feedings and kangaroo care. I can only imagine the added stress had I had to leave the hospital while he was still in the NICU.” 

It was one of the hardest weeks of our lives, and using the room certainly meant the world to us. We can never begin to express how grateful we were…
— Fairview Family Room mother

Since opening in 2010, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at MetroHealth has served 96,000+ visitors, a number that is growing as services expand and medical treatments advance. Helping these individuals is made possible by the kindness of dedicated volunteers, who have donated more than 27,700 hours of their time. In order to continue our mission of keeping families together, we are seeking several more Family Room and Hospitality Suite volunteers.

Please consider donating your time to help our families stay close to their children's hospital bed. 

Gratitude for Your Support

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland would not be possible without the donors and the volunteers who help provide comfort to families during their darkest times. Here are just a few of the thank you notes families share with us. Please know that your generosity of treasure and time is greatly appreciated by the more than 108,000 individuals we serve every year. 


"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing such a welcoming and loving home to our family during a time of struggle and pain. The staff is always so kind and cheerful and the events organized make the stay more fun and lets everyone escape their stress and problems for just a moment. We have stayed at many Ronald McDonald homes and have always had the most amazing and rewarding experience."

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"The Family Room was wonderful. What a difference from other waiting rooms we have been in while my son had surgery. We met great families going through similar situations and were able to support each other. The room was very comfortable and having access to food was so nice. My son fell asleep in the ICU for a couple minutes, so I ran down and grabbed a sandwich. I was so appreciative!"

"After our daughter's diagnosis, I was able to find all the resources we needed in one place on For the first time since we learned the news, I felt supported and empowered to make the best choices for my family."

"Our son Simon was born one week ago. He was transferred to a Cleveland hospital hours after birth. He has made great strides in a week's time, and we will be bringing him home tomorrow. We would like to thank every volunteer and staff member for their hospitality and kindness. They truly make you feel like you're at home."

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"Donating to RMH will change lives. It gives children and parents what they need more than anything - to be together - during what is potentially the most difficult time in their lives. I was once the sick child whose parents RMH kept with me. I donate not just to give back to those that helped my family, but because I know firsthand how it makes a world of difference for children and families. "


"Our daughter was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 pound 7 ounces. We will forever be grateful for the Ronald McDonald House. It was our home for almost 5 months. I don’t know what we would have done without them. This was 13 years ago. Today our daughter collects pop tabs, and we make a special trip to drop them off every time she has an appointment with her neurologist."

"My mother-in-law introduced me to RMH where she is involved in donating and volunteering at the House. I always believed that supporting the RMH makes such a amazing difference to families during a difficult time. However this past December I had my own experience with RMH and feel even more passionate about it. My daughter was transported downtown with a bad case of RSV. It was the scariest time of my life. The Family Room was the breath of fresh air that I needed. It was nice to see a friendly face and get a cup of coffee when I did not have time to run downstairs. The people at Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland do an incredible job. Thank you for all you do!"

A Home for the Holidays

For some people, the holidays mean being hundreds of miles from their family while their children are receiving critical medical care. Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors, the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is able to provide 55 families with a home during the holidays. That's food, shelter, festivities...all things that make life better during a difficult time.

As you make your end of year gifts, please consider donating to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. 100% of your donation stays local, and you will help a family in need, whether they stay at the House, visit a Family Room at the hospital, or use resources on 

Thank you for being a part of the Ronald McDonald House family. Happy holidays! 

The Fritz Family and Baby Mason

Everything was normal. And then it wasn’t. You never know when you’re going to need the Ronald McDonald House yourself.
— Beth Fritz
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Beth Fritz was 38 weeks into her pregnancy, and everything was normal. When Beth started having contractions, her husband, Ty, drove them to their suburban hospital. Beth assumed she would be checked and sent home. But an ultrasound discovered that their unborn son was scoring low on movement, so the doctor ordered an emergency C-section.

Baby Mason was very sick. He had lost a tremendous amount of blood in the uterus, causing severe anemia. He was immediately moved by ambulance to a downtown hospital with a state-of-the-art NICU. Ty went with Mason in his incubator, and Beth followed later. The doctors weren’t sure Mason was going to make it.

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Beth was placed in a tiny room at the hospital, while Ty camped out on an uncomfortable couch. After nearly a week in the hospital, doctors found a bleed on Mason’s brain. They took him off the machine to try to stop the bleeding…and he survived. They were relieved, but both parents were exhausted and missing their two-year-old daughter, Addalyn, who was not allowed to visit her parents and new baby brother in the NICU.

About this time, a social worker suggested that Beth and Ty stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. This made a big difference. “Everyone was so nice. It meant one less meal to buy, one less parking fee,” says Beth. “It was the most normal thing we could have at that time.”

The best part was that Addalyn and her grandparents could also stay at the House, allowing the family to be together for the month Mason stayed in the hospital. Addalyn could have a quiet breakfast with grandma and then play with the toys or on the playground with other kids staying at the House. And when Beth and Ty needed a break from the hospital, they could take the shuttle back to the House, play with Addalyn, take a nap…just be mom and dad.

When you have the kind of support provided by the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, Mason is being helped indirectly. His parents were more comfortable and better rested staying at the House. They could be with Mason’s sister as a family. All of this meant they could take better care of Mason
— Becca Schumm, Beth’s mom

Today Mason is a happy, thriving baby. The Fritz Family, like so many like them, did everything they could to help Mason. And the Ronald McDonald House was there for them during their time of need.

Without donors, we wouldn’t be able to provide comfort to families when they’re facing scary, life-threatening situations. They ensure that the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is ready and able to help these families during their time of greatest need. 

From Fruit to Families: Paying It Forward

 Dr. Beverly far right

Dr. Beverly far right

One Friday afternoon Dr. Laurel Beverly visited the West Side Market to purchase produce. She stopped at a fruit stand and picked out $8 worth of product.

As Beverly reached for her wallet, an enthusiastic woman stopped her because she was going to pay for that fruit. When Beverly protested, the woman insisted. “Great things have been happening to me lately. I want to do something nice for a stranger. I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer!” The woman told Beverly she should just “pay it forward” to someone else.

She then pulled out her Ohio Direction Card and paid for the fruit. “I have just enough on my card to cover this.”

I couldn’t believe it. I could easily afford to pay for my fruit. I just thought, ‘Lady, you have no idea how I’m going to pay it forward.’
— Dr. Laurel Beverly

The next day Dr. Beverly attended her third Wine Women & Shoes to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. She always enjoyed it for the wine tasting, the vendors, the fashion show, and the comradery with amazing women. But this year was special.

After the live auction, the Ronald McDonald House invites attendees to give Gifts from the Heart (a cash donation to support the organization).

When the auctioneer asked who would give a $5,000 gift, I told myself, ‘Well, this is it. It’s my time to pay it forward,’ and I raised my paddle.
— Dr. Beverly

What does $5,000 mean to the Ronald McDonald House? Dr. Beverly’s gift sponsors a room at the House for one year. That means 365 days that a family who cannot afford a $20 a night donation has a safe, secure place to stay while their child is receiving medical treatment.

The Ronald McDonald House is grateful to Dr. Beverly and the kind stranger at the West Side Market for their generosity. Would you like to give families a place to stay all year? Sponsor a room at the Ronald McDonald House.

Wrapped with Love

People tend to gravitate toward those who display an unwavering sense of optimism and hope in times of difficulty and uncertainty. These characteristic of hope and optimism perfectly describe Sidney Taylor, who meets each day with a smile and positive attitude. It’s why, despite her various medical conditions, people find themselves pulled to her story and find courage in her journey.

Sidney and her mother Tonya first came to Cleveland from their home in West Virginia after Sidney started coughing blood from her lungs. Sidney and her family visited several hospitals for treatment but was referred to a pulmonologist in Cleveland.  After arriving in Cleveland, Sidney began to have gastrointestinal problems, leading her to seek additional treatment from gastroenterologists. Needing a place to stay due to the prolonged nature of Sidney’s rare condition and treatment for Vascular Ehler’s Danlos, her family reached out to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. The House had a room available and welcomed Sidney and her family with open arms.

Since staying at the Ronald McDonald House, Sidney has formed friendships with many of the other families, volunteers, and staff at the House. She has become best friends with Badour, a girl from Kuwait, who she looks forward to seeing each time she comes back to Cleveland. Sidney and her mom have also found friendship in fellow House guests Alyssa, Rob, and their daughter Katie. Ronald McDonald House security guards, Dwight and Stacey, not only keep the House safe, but Sidney enjoys seeking their advice when times get especially tough.

To me the Ronald McDonald House is a House of love. It’s a House that helps support you when you and your family are having hard times while our children are in the hospital.
— Sidney Taylor

During her visits, Sidney and her family have been able to meet people from all over the world and have gotten to experience their culture and language in the process. Badour, who speaks Arabic, has taught Sidney basic communication skills so that she can speak to other guests in Arabic. What makes the House a home? Interactions and relationships with families from different backgrounds who are experiencing similar circumstances and lending their support. “The House is a melting pot mixed with people from all over the world travel to Cleveland with their children who are in need of medical attention," says Sidney.

While staying at the House earlier this year, Sidney was surprised with Fuji, an 80 lb. Akita service dog who looks after her and is trained to detect seizures, open doors, and fetch water. Fuji and Sidney have become fast friends, rarely leaving each other’s side. More recently Sidney and the House were the beneficiary of a large donation of Disney themed Duck Tape. Sidney, who requires an IV pole for tube feeding, fluid bags, and TPN bags, was looking for a unique way to decorate her pole and make it more fun. Noticing the many of the rolls, Sidney jumped at the opportunity to decorate her pole with one of her favorite characters.

Every few months I like to pick out new Duck Tape for my IV pole. House manager Molly saw my IV pole and told me that RMH had received a donation of Mickey Mouse Duck Tape and asked if I wanted some to wrap my pole. I now have a Mickey Mouse IV pole that I love very much, so a huge thank you to ShurTech for the donation!
— Sidney

Toni Makes the Runway Shine

Toni Hadad takes her boutique of unique and elegant fashions on the road to downtown Cleveland for Wine Women & Shoes on Saturday, October 14, at the Renaissance Cleveland. For attendees who haven’t been to Toni in Style, the Chagrin Falls clothing store, they are in for a real treat.

This is Toni’s third year organizing the fashion show for the event. She promises to bring clothing from tailor to trendy, daytime to evening dresses, and beautiful evening clothes. Each year’s theme is a kept secret until the big reveal. Year one was a masquerade ball. Year two was a salute to the star spangled banner. What will 2017 bring?!

I really enjoy doing this show. I feel a connection with the audience. I love the reaction of the customers’ faces when they see the models. It’s such a fun atmosphere.
— Toni Hadad

Toni will have fashions available for purchase at the event. They will include clothing that appeals to women across the generations. “Customers like the uniqueness of the pieces,” says Hadad. “When they come to the shop, customers get a personal shopper if they so choose. The clothes speak for themselves…from elegant to pure fun!”

Toni says the trends for this fall are red, new shades of green and blue, plaids, suede, and “velvet, velvet, velvet!” She particularly excited for a reversible vest that can be worn five different ways. She says it’s “$56 of wonderful.”

Toni makes sure that her clients get to enjoy the show, a way for them to see the store on the runway. She says they always really enjoy themselves because the event is so well orchestrated, and it’s for a good cause.

Wine Women & Shoes gives me the opportunity to support Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, to connect with women, to take Toni’s to new places, and to show women how good they can look.
— Toni Hadad

"We are so proud of our partnership with Toni in Style," says Development Director Amy Pausche. "Toni and her team donate countless hours of their time to make this a special event for our friends and the community, which in turn supports the thousands of individuals we serve each year."

To learn more about Toni in Style and see more great fashions, like them on Facebook. 

A handful of tickets are still available for Wine Women & Shoes. Don't miss out. Grab a friend and come see Toni's talents!

Taking Control Away from Pain

 Patient Kayla Smith and family

Patient Kayla Smith and family

Health isn’t just about the physical wellbeing of a child. In fact, behavioral or mental health is essential to overall health.

At the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, we welcome families who are seeking all types of treatment for their children. Many patient families are seeking care for ailments, such as cancer or organ transplants, but many come to Cleveland for mental and behavioral health issues. These include eating disorders, autism camps, ADHD programs, psychiatric care…basically any treatment that addresses the physical and emotional health of a child.

In 2016, the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation accounted for fourteen percent of family visits, the fourth most needed treatment sought by our families.  

The Pain Rehabilitation Program helps children ages eight to 22 learn to cope with chronic pain that interferes with everyday life. The program primarily serves children with complex regional pain syndrome, chronic headaches and migraines, and conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic abdominal pain, and arthritis.

The goal of the program is to return children to a normal life. By the time the patients enter the program, they’re not attending school, they’re not hanging out with their friends, and they’re spending hours in medical facilities trying to identify the source of the pain. The pain changes the family dynamic. One parent is caring for the child, most likely missing work, while the other parent has to take care of siblings. This in turn may cause marital conflict.

Patients entering the pain management program have been on a long journey. Most families have seen multiple surgeons, specialists, and hospital systems. They know that surgery and medication is not going to solve the problem. Says Kristen Buchannan, program coordinator, “Because there is not a physical, medical, or organic reason for the pain, others assume the problem is psychological only.” They’re often depressed, have anxiety, or suffer from a sleeping or mood disorder.

Concern regarding dependence on prescription pain killers may also prompt families to seek alternatives to traditional pain medications alone. The opioid crisis in the U.S. is well-documented, and its victims include children and teens. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 11.5 million Americans aged 12 and older misused prescription pain medicine in 2016. At the onset, many users become addicted after a legitimate need to take prescription painkillers.

Kids learn to help themselves rather than relying on medical intervention alone.
— Kristen Buchannan

The three-week program—two weeks inpatient and one week outpatient—empowers patients to take care of themselves. The program teaches the patients mind-body skills that build better body mechanics and use relaxation and mindfulness. It includes yoga, music therapy, cooking classes, counseling with a psychologist, and a full-time teacher.

Kristen says that the best outcome is to improving family function and returning patients to a normal life. The program has seen good results. Some findings from the program:

  • Upon admission: Patients averaged 3.32 missed school days per week, and parents reported an average of 2.51 missed work days per week. Surveyed parents rated their child’s pain a 6.76 on a 0-to-10 scale. 
  • Two years after program discharge: Patients surveyed two years after their child completed the program averaged 0.22 missed school days per week, and parents reported 0.16 missed work days. Surveyed parents rated their child’s pain a 3.79. 
  • Three years after discharge: Patients surveyed three years after their child completed the program reported 0.32 missed school days per week, and parents reported zero missed work days. Surveyed parents rated their child’s pain a 3.0.

Nearly 70 percent of the rehabilitation program’s patients live outside of Ohio. Of the 30 percent who are in-state, most live at least an hour away. The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is pleased to offer families a place to call home while their children are being treated at the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation.

To learn more about the Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Program at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation, visit their WEBSITE.

If you or a loved one needs help with substance use or mental health disorders, check out the resources on, or call the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services toll-free information and referral line at 1 (877) 275-6364.


Need help right away? Text the keyword '4hope' to 741 741 to be connected to a crisis counselor. It's confidential, free, and at your fingertips.

Crocheting from the Heart

When times can get tough, people tend to show their true colors.

Anna Canady and her mother Jennifer came to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland from Lakeland, Florida after Anna contracted a virus two years ago. The virus attacked Anna’s nerves and caused unrelenting pain in both of her feet.  Anna was diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). With pain so intense it left Anna wheelchair bound, her family sought help from pain management doctors in Cleveland.

After initial appointments, Jennifer and her husband Charles had Anna admitted to a rigorous physical therapy program to help Anna stand again. So far from home, Anna and her parents realized they would need a long term place to stay. That’s when they turned to the Ronald McDonald House.

Since coming to the Ronald McDonald House, Anna and her family have found more than just a place to stay; they have found a sense of community. It’s blossomed into many new friendships between their family, staff, volunteers, and other families staying at the House. 

The real power of the Ronald McDonald House is greater than laundry and food. It’s the sense of a community that understands what you’re going through.
— Jennifer Canady

Anna, who learned how to crochet hats from her grandmother, took part in a knitting class taught by an RMH volunteer in May. Anna used the volunteer's yarn and hooks to start crocheting again. Although she hadn’t crocheted in a long time, the activity rekindled her interest. Since then crocheting has become a passion for Anna…and a way to help and think of others as she underwent her occupational therapy. When Anna and her family went back home for the summer, Anna perfected her art and crocheted more than 50 unique hats. When she returned in early August, Anna gave the hats to her friends at the House.

When you have a child with a chronic illness, it’s amazing how helping others helps them. It’s beauty. It’s art. It’s functional.
— Jennifer

One of Anna’s friends at the House, Khaled, was adamant that she crotchet a bag for him to carry his toys. Not one to turn down a challenge, Anna made a bag and gave it to Khaled, who ecstatically belted “I am just like Mowgli!” (his favorite character from The Jungle Book). Being able to act altruistically and bring joy to others has helped provide Anna with a greater sense of purpose. It allows her to think outward rather than focus inward on the pain and difficulties she faces from CRPS.

The House has given the Canadys a place to call home while they’re in Cleveland. But by giving back during their stay, whether it’s through the kindness of Anna making something as simple as a hat for her friends or providing support to other families, they have shown the House that giving is good for everyone.

Family Room Provides Comfort & a Home

There is a saying in caregiving, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup,’ says Cindy. “Thank you, Ronald McDonald Family Room, for refilling my cup so I could be the parent I needed to be at the times my very ill son needed me the most.
— Cindy Steinbrick

It all started with a sore rib.

Jeremy at hospital.png

By all accounts, 13-year-old Jeremy was a healthy active middle schooler. He ran track and cross country, so fast that he came in second in his age group at a popular 5K race in May 2016. A few months later Jeremy was away at camp when he complained that he had an injured rib. A trip to the ER and a blood test later showed that Jeremy had a dangerously low number of platelets. He was transported by ambulance to Cleveland.

On July 13, 2016, Jeremy was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, which is difficult to treat.

Jeremy immediately started chemotherapy. Although Jeremy’s parents, Cindy and Scott Steinbrick, live 20 minutes from the hospital where he was being treated, they were frequent users of the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Thinking they would be at the hospital for a day or two, a complication could keep them there for a week.

“Being in the hospital with a critically ill child is an overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to deal with all the emotional aspects and advocate for your child, a lot of your time is dedicated to the things that many of us take for granted at home,” says Cindy. If you run out of clean clothes, there is no dresser or closet to go to. If you want something to eat, there is no fully stocked kitchen. If you need a shower, the shower in your child's room is not available. If you want to relax, there is no comfortable living room in your child's room to hang out.” 

Adam and Jeremy.png

The Family Room allowed Jeremy’s parents to be with him at all times. It provided the family with free snacks and hot meals, laundry, big comfortable chairs to relax away from the beeps of machines, a kitchen to cook food, and showers. Cindy was able to pack a “go” bag with three days’ worth of clothes knowing she would be able to use the Family Room if she stayed longer. And it was the only place in the hospital open after 6 pm if they were an emergency arrival.

In March 2017, the Steinbricks learned the cancer wasn’t under control. Jeremy would need a bone marrow transplant. He and Cindy arrived at the hospital on May 31 for the transplant. Jeremy was discharged on July 9 and is making progress every day. In one year, Jeremy—with one of his parents—stayed a total of 135 days in the hospital.

Last year our four Family Rooms served 80,000 individuals. Contributions from donors kept families by their children and gave them a sense of normalcy during a difficult time. Help us continue to serve our families in need. 

Expanded Kitchen Patio Accessible to All


The Ronald McDonald House celebrated the grand reopening of the newly renovated and expanded kitchen patio with families and friends from Majestic Steel USA on August 23, 2017. After the official ribbon cutting, Majestic Steel provided dinner for the families staying at the House.

The patio is a gift from Majestic Steel USA. Majestic associates re-laid the bricks, built a retaining wall and granite countertop, installed a new grill, and planted vegetables to feed families. They also made the garden path handicapped accessible and added tables that accommodate wheelchairs. Anchoring the space is a magnificent 10-foot steel tree by artist Raymond Bugelski.

Since January 2017, Majestic has provided financial and volunteer support to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. In addition to the patio renovation, they cook family meals monthly, provide volunteers at several events, and completed group projects around the House. Majestic sponsors a room at the House and several events, including Pull Tab Palooza.

Says Melissa Duda, director of HR, “Working with the Ronald McDonald House benefits our staff in many ways. They want to help the community, and the Ronald McDonald House connects them to families and children. It’s also a great team building exercise and an opportunity to make connections within our company to people you don’t normally work with.”

Garden volunteers Nathalie and Greta are especially grateful for Majestic associates’ help. They saved volunteers hours of work moving soil, mulching, and installing an irrigation system so that they no longer have to hand water the area.


Jonathan Leebow, executive vice president and part owner of Majestic, feels the mission of his company—to create a majestic experience for all—and that of the Ronald McDonald House closely align. And giving his staff the opportunity to help others makes his company stronger. 

Having a magnificent experience outside business helps our people. Staff living a balanced life is good for business.
— Jonathan Leebow

Pam Elefritz, an 18-year associate at Majestic, summed up her experience. “Helping the Ronald McDonald House is very fulfilling work, It’s touching, emotional, and hits my heart. These families are going through a lot. You really don’t know what the Ronald McDonald House does until you get involved.”

Volunteering opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House are available for companies, organizations, family groups, and individuals.

Ronald McDonald House Guest Becomes a Volunteer in Peru

3,709 miles. This is the distance that separates the Blondet/Villacorta family from their home in Peru and the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. The family, Miguel and Rosa, their son Vicente and Miguel's mother Amalia, came to Cleveland after learning that their son Adrian would need treatment in Ohio following his birth. It was around this time that Miguel had learned about the Ronald McDonald House from a friend in Lima, Peru. They discovered that staying at the House would allow them to remain close to the hospital, all while providing a warm and supportive environment for their family. With Adrian's birth approaching, the family began their journey to Cleveland.

Soon after their arrival in Ohio, Rosa gave birth to their second son Adrian, who is under the careful supervision and treatment of doctors. Since coming to Cleveland, Miguel, Rosa, Vicente, and Amalia have made the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland their "home away from home." From the gardens, to the community sun-room and homemade volunteer meals, the family has enjoyed many of the amenities that the House has to offer. They have even developed close friendships with many of the volunteers, staff, and families staying at the House. Volunteers Pat and Bobbe and Guest Services Coordinator Molly will always hold a special place in Amalia's heart.

Being able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is a blessing in all aspects; from human contact to economic relief. Personally I am thankful that my son and his family are receiving such loving care!
— Amalia De La Puente

As the family continues their stay in Cleveland, grandmother Amalia has returned home in Lima, Peru to continue her work as a holistic therapist. Although Amalia is now thousands of miles away, the experience she had while in Cleveland inspired her to pay it forward to families who are going through similar circumstances. Since returning home, Amalia has become a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of Peru. There Amalia has put her work and cooking skills to good use by providing support and meals to the many families that the House serves.

When asked what made her want to become a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House of Peru, Amalia said, “THANKFULNESS!!!” While Amalia let it be known that conditions in Lima are much different, she was grateful for the generosity and support that the community provides so that the House can continue to be a home for families as they care for their children...just as it has been for hers in Cleveland.

My family feels comfortable, secure, and loved. I believe the Ronald McDonald House is a bit of a home for now.
— Amalia

Golfers Tee Off in Memory of Dear Friend

Family, friends, and a good game of golf. These were just a few of the many things that brought joy to Tom Ackerman who passed away suddenly at the age of 60 of a heart attack in 2012. His wife Micki, daughters Kourtney and Kristin, and their families were left stunned and heartbroken. The day before his heart attack, Tom was at Acacia Country Club playing one of the best rounds of golf he had ever played. After a fun-filled day on the course, Tom went home and spent quality time with his favorite people, his family. That evening, Tom and his family said their goodnights not knowing Tom would suffer a fatal heart attack overnight.

In July of that year on Tom’s birthday, the family gathered to pay tribute and reminisce of their fondest memories together, shedding many tears and sharing a lingering sense of grief. That’s when Joe, Kourtney’s husband, had a light bulb moment. Rather than have Tom’s birthday be a day full of tears,why not do something to celebrate Tom's memory. What better way to remember Tom than to invite friends and family to gather together once a year to share memories, laughs, and time on the greens? To match Tom’s charitable heart, the Ackerman family decided to make the outing a fundraiser. After a brief search, Micki and her family chose the Ronald McDonald of Cleveland to be the beneficiary of the annual event to help families in need.

We want to make a difference in Tom’s name. And we feel like giving back is the best way to do it.
— Micki Ackerman

What began as any other fundraising event has blossomed into a strong relationship between a family coping with their sudden loss and the Ronald McDonald House, whose mission it is to serve families while they care for their children during some of the most difficult times in their lives. This year, more than 70 golfers teed off at Fowler's Mill in Chesterland, Ohio for the 5th anniversary of the Tom Ackerman Golf Outing, held on Tom’s 66th birthday. Even his grandson Colin got in on the round of 18 holes. Following a breezy afternoon on the course, golfers and guests gathered in the club house where they took part in a raffle, dinner, and learned more about the Ronald McDonald House.

We love the Ronald McDonald House! Our grandkids love coming to the House to play in the treehouse and meet the kids. That’s what makes us happy; we can see how money is being used because it’s tangible.
— Micki Ackerman

Since the inaugural event in 2013, the Tom Ackerman Golf Outing has raised more than $25,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. The funds raised from the outing have been used to sponsor room 219 at the House. Each time guests enter the room, they are greeted by the sign with Tom’s name. The Ronald McDonald House would like to thank the Ackerman family and friends for their support in helping keep families close and for creating such a fun and welcoming event that keeps Tom’s legacy alive.

The 6th Annual Tom Ackerman Golf Outing will be held at Fowler’s Mill on Friday, July 27, 2018. To learn more about the Tom Ackerman Golf Outing, visit the event's Facebook page by clicking the button below.

Sarah Keeps Smiling

Each time a guest stays at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, they embark on a journey away from their family, friends, and home. What we hope they find when they come to the Ronald McDonald House is a sense of hope, support, and a place where they can call home as they focus on rest and recovery. For Sarah Mann, who began staying at the Ronald McDonald House as a teen, and her husband Michael, their experience at the House has been just that as Sarah continues her battle against cancer. We’ve asked Sarah to share her story of survival with us in hopes that it helps inspires others. Below is Sarah’s story.

Illness is something not usually in the forefront of anyone’s mind. However, this world has taught us that anything can happen to anyone at any time. I have learned this lesson all too well, being in and out of hospitals for more than half of my life. After battling renal failure and two different types of cancer as a teenager, I was disease free for 8 years. Unfortunately, one of my cancers returned in 2015 – Ewing’s Sarcoma. Treatment and surgery put me into remission, but that, too, was short lived.

The disease returned in 2016.  It was at this point that I made contact with a Ewing’s Sarcoma specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Several trips were made between Illinois and Cleveland for many months, attempting new treatments to keep the cancer at bay, even having my left lung removed in October 2016. Unfortunately, more bad news came this past June when the cancer returned. The scan from June showed three tumors, one pressing upon the heart, causing my right lung to accumulate with fluid. My husband and I went to Cleveland expecting a simple procedure to drain the fluid. Far from simple, the procedure caused my heart to stop three times while on the operating table. It was during this time that we knew we would be in Cleveland for a long period of time. Radiation would begin soon, and then I would start another regimen of chemotherapy.

 Sarah and her daughter, Abbie, on Mother's Day

Sarah and her daughter, Abbie, on Mother's Day

My husband and parents had just spent a week in a hotel, which had not been cheap. We had been informed about the Ronald McDonald House during a previous visit and decided to give them a call. I was accepted, and my family was given a room where they were able to rest and relax while caring for me. I was discharged from the hospital on June 30 and came to the Ronald McDonald House to join my husband. Radiation would begin soon. Until then, we would wait.

But our waiting was enjoyable. We have met many families going through a variety of medical issues, each having their unique story. We are grateful to the House because it has allowed us to focus more on me getting healthy and getting rid of this cancer once and for all. We haven’t had to worry about finances, meals, transportation – getting better is the only goal at the Ronald McDonald House. When our 2-year-old daughter came to visit us, we were grateful for the beautiful gardens and the extensive playground that she so enjoyed while she was here. It was a beautiful moment, just being able to be together. That’s what the Ronald McDonald House is. It is full of beautiful moments, moments that families might not have gotten if they had been anywhere else. It is all about family here.

Sarah writes a blog documenting her and her family’s journey. To read more about Sarah, visit

Amateurs Rub Elbows with PGA Pros

 PGA Touring Pros Nancy Lopez and Larry Mize

PGA Touring Pros Nancy Lopez and Larry Mize

Golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the links (except for a slight rain delay) during the 38th Annual Ronald McDonald House Pro-Am Golf Tournament, presented by Truline Industries and University Hospitals, on Monday, June 19, 2017, at The Mayfield Sand Ridge Club.

Amateurs swung clubs and putted with PGA Touring and Local Pros and picked up several tips along the way for improving their game. Touring Pros included Zac Blair, Bud Cauley, Roberto Castro, Ben Curtis, Fred Funk, Jason Gore, Jason Kokrak, Nancy Lopez, Peter Malnati, Larry Mize, Dicky Pride, Hal Sutton, Kyle Thompson, and Harold Varner.

Asked why he chose to participate in the Pro-Am:

In 2013, I met a young cancer survivor at a event, and her story and courage inspired me through her challenges overcoming this terrible disease. I have become lifelong friends with her and her family. The Ronald McDonald House inspires me in the same way to help others going through similar challenges.
— Peter Malnati
 Amateurs with PGA Touring Pro Bud Cauley (second from right)

Amateurs with PGA Touring Pro Bud Cauley (second from right)

The Pro-Am is known as the premier golf outing in Cleveland. Over it's lifetime, the Pro-Am has raised more $4 million to help the Ronald McDonald House keep families close to their children when they need them the most. This year's theme was the Family Meal Program. Each night corporate, nonprofit, and family groups come to the House and prepare a hot meal for our guests. Families don't have to worry about cooking dinner after a long day at the hospital.

The Pro-Am committee along with their families come together to have a cookout and meet guests staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.
It’s simply my favorite day of golf every year! Tour Pros and CEOs, together supporting the families of the’s a great event! Play it once and you won’t ever want to miss it again.
— Andy McCartney, President, Bowden Manufacturing

To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House Pro-Am, contact Development Director Amy Pausche.

Our sincere thanks to our generous sponsors.