November 24, 2010

Mackynzie and Karen-Elaine's RMH Story

Mackynzie and his mom Karen-Elaine have been coming to the Ronald McDonald House a few times a year over the past 10 years. Mackynzie, who turned 13 this summer, was born with a rare genetic disorder called Aarskog Syndrome. When he was born, doctors told Karen-Elaine that he would not live to be three years old. We asked Karen-Elaine to share Mackynzie's story with you today.

What are the hardest parts of having a child in the hospital?

Being away from family and friends (support) is really hard because I am a single mother. It is very hard to be by myself and feel helpless.

Are there any other difficulties?

Having to watch all of the tests, surgeries and other medical things being done and feeling like there is nothing I can do. The financial burdens too, having to come from six hours away three to five times a year is very hard.

How does staying at the Ronald McDonald House help?

Mackynzie and I have been coming to RMH for over 10 years. I am so grateful for RMH. At a hotel, you just have your room and that is it. At RMH you have your room of course, but there is so much more. There are the family rooms, the kitchen, the activities and the wonderful staff. Plus, it is a lot easier financially for families. We love RMH!

What things does Mackynzie like to do while he is staying here in the House?

He enjoys the teen room and loves to play video games. He also loves McDonald's Night, Bingo, and having 'doughnut mornings'. He told me once that the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem was a part of his family.

Are there any other aspects about the House that you find important?

Family atmosphere is really important and RMH is loaded with it. There are other families dealing with the same things you are and there is always someone to talk to.

Would you like to share anything else with our readers?

Yes. I am so thankful for Mackynzie. He has been my miracle from the day he was born. I have learned to take nothing for granted and to always appreciate the little things! RMH of Winston-Salem, the staff, volunteers and other families have been a part of our lives for a long time and I am grateful every day.

Learn more about how the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem helps families like Mackynzie and Karen-Elaine and see how you can make a difference by visiting our

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our House to yours!

With Love,

The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Staff

November 22, 2010

While you are at the store...

Are you going to the grocery store this week?

Yes, I know that is a silly question! Thanksgiving is only four days away and if you are anything like me, you probably went twice this weekend! On your next trip to the store would you mind adding an extra item to your cart for RMH families?

The House is getting pretty low on some very important pantry items. While we need and use everything on our Family Wish List, there are a few items that we are in desperate need of here at the House right now. They are:

Single-Serve Cereal
Pop Tarts
Single-Serve Fruit Cups
Granola Bars
Single-Serve bags of chips
Powered coffee creamer (any size)
Sugar (packets & bags)

Items can be dropped off at the House from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday and from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Sunday.

Thank you for helping our families during this time of thanks and giving. We are so appreciative for your generous support.


November 18, 2010

Meet Baby RJ

Rico and Carla were the first family to stay in our newly expanded Ronald McDonald House while their newborn son RJ was treated for life-threatening injuries he sustained during delivery. Rico and Carla were more than happy to share their experience as a Ronald McDonald House family.

Why is RJ in the hospital?

When he was born he lost 35 minutes of oxygen and lost half of the blood in his body due to his umbilical cord being cut. He had to have CPR performed on him for about an hour or more.

What are the three hardest parts of having a child in the hospital?

1. Wondering everyday if your child is going to be okay or not.
2. Relying on strangers to take care of your child if you can’t be at the hospital every day.
3. Having other children at home knowing they miss you and not really understanding that you need to be with the sick baby. You feel torn when you leave them.

What are the best parts of staying at the Ronald McDonald House?

The House really feels like a home away from home. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure you have all your needs met.

Why is it better to stay at the Ronald McDonald House than a hotel?

At RMH you have others to talk to, it has all of the comforts of home. They have people that can explain information of put in place things you might need from the community. Being able to have activities to take our minds off all the worry and stress was wonderful.

Rico and Carla’s daughters came to visit the House while their brother was in the hospital. We asked them what their daughters liked the most about the House:

Our two daughters stayed with us and enjoyed the bunk beds. Most of all they liked having the playroom and playground. We also enjoyed the free passes to SciWorks and Old Salem so we could spend some afternoons together as a family.

How have the volunteers at the House made your stay better?

The RMH volunteers really helped us in our time of need and comforted us when things were going bad. Some conducted activities to help us relax after a long stressful day. And, they gave us the strength to keep our heads up and not quit or give up. They were awesome.

Rico and Carlo wanted to share a message with you about their experience here at the House:

Never take for granted the little things in life, always cherish everything. Your health, your children, or spouse – because you never know when something can happen and you may end up in a similar situation to a lot of the families here. Always know that there are people who truly care, like the employees and volunteers here at the Ronald McDonald House. They are truly God’s angels on earth.

Baby RJ went home last week after nearly a month and a half long stay at Brenner Children’s Hospital. Carla and Rico were here at the House, right across the street from the hospital, for the entire duration of his hospital stay. They happily report that he is doing great!

November 16, 2010

Honor RMH Families by Lighting Luminaries!

It is hard to believe that the 24th annual Light a Luminary Project is right around the corner! We would love for you to participate this year by purchasing kits and lighting beautiful luminaries in front of your home on December 24th. Here are a few FAQs about the Luminary Project:

What is the Light a Luminary Project?

The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem is celebrating its expansion to 35 bedrooms and the Friends of the Ronald McDonald House are celebrating the 24th annual Light a Luminary Project! On the December 24th neighbors throughout Winston-Salem honor families whose holidays will not be as bright due to the illness of their child. Please join us in lighting luminaries and placing them in front of your home this holiday season!

Why support the Light a Luminary Project?

The Light a Luminary project has provided over one million dollars in support of the Ronald McDonald House. In 2009 the project funded 19% of the House's operating budget. By purchasing a luminary kit, you are supporting the House and providing a festive display for your neighbors to enjoy.

How does my neighborhood get involved?

Please contact us at (336) 723-0228 x1014 or email for information about how you can get involved.

Where can I buy my luminaries?

Luminaries are available at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem as well as many retail locations throughout Winston-Salem from November 24th through December 24th. For a complete list of all of participating retail locations, click here.

What does a luminary kit look like?

Each kit costs $5.00 and contains six white paper bags, six candles, sand, and instructions. One kit will illuminate approximately 100 linear feet.

Please call us if you have any questions or would like more details! You can reach us at 336-723-0228.

November 8, 2010

Celebrate Thanksgiving Early This Year!

Come enjoy a free Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Rainbow Pals! The 7th Annual Thanksgiving Benefit Banquet and Silent Auction is coming up this Sunday, November 14th at 6:00 pm. There will be live music, door prizes, silent auction and raffle all in support of a great cause. 100% of all of the money raised benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem!

Check out this slideshow of highlights from last year's dinner. It looks like a blast and I am so excited to gobble up lots of my Thanksgiving favorites. I can practically smell the stuffing and green bean casserole already! :)

Special guests at this year's dinner include WXII News Channel 12's Chief Meteorologist Lanie Pope, Josie from 107.5 KZL and musician Jamie Carroll.

The fun starts at 6:00 pm at the South Fork Community Center in Winston-Salem. For more info contact Noah at (336) 471 - 8180. Seating is limited so please be sure to RSVP to

See you there!


November 4, 2010

One Small Step for Dog...

Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not color blind. That’s just some vicious rumor some guy started because he was jealous of our great sense of smell. Clearly, if I was color blind I wouldn’t have recently discovered something very shocking.

Here’s how it all started.

It is getting cold outside and things around Ardmore are starting to look less and less green. The trees are turning all kinds of pretty colors and the plants around the yard are starting to get ready for winter. Check out this pretty tree on our dining patio where families love to relax, its leaves are almost all gone!

Well, the grass in the front yard where Peanut and I like to hang out is losing its spring green tint. You know what I am talking about, that really bright green. But for some very strange reason, the grass in the backyard is still green – really, really green. Like, the prettiest shade of green I’ve ever seen. This struck me as very odd so I decided it was time to investigate.

So, I very carefully made my way down the steps towards the play area and well, how can I put this…

It’s soft, it’s luscious...


You should have seen Peanut when I told her, she fainted! (Don’t worry, I got her a paper bag and some smelling salts. She’s fine now, just a bit wobbly.) Once I got over the initial shock, I ventured out again on to the new permanently green lawn. How does that old expression go? Oh yes, one small step for dog, one giant leap for dog kind!

It was totally amazing. First of all, it’s a little squishier than regular grass, which is good since lots of RMH kids like to play on it. And, it never turns brown! It stays green and beautiful all year long. Even in the snow! Isn’t that wild? Another great thing about it is that it doesn’t grow, it stays the same exact length all year long. (Peanut says she likes this part the best since she is scared of lawn mowers.)

I don’t have a single complaint about it, except it for one teeny tiny little thing. Really, it’s nothing… But as far as taste goes, to say it is horrible is being very generous. It is extremely chewy with a sort-of blade like texture. And it has this odd favor to it. I can’t put my paw on exactly what it is…

Aside from the terrible taste, I'd have to say that it is the most amazing lawn ever! You should come by and see it. You can email Laura or Mindy for a tour of our new yard and the rest of the Ronald McDonald House too. :)


November 3, 2010

Happy National Sandwich Day!

Did you know that today was National Sandwich Day!? Yes, today the world celebrates the birthday of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich and the namesake for one of America's favorite foods.

We can definitely join the celebration here at the Ronald McDonald House. Our families love sandwiches because they are a great 'grab & go' meal to take with them to the hospital. Of course, not everyone feels like having a sandwich every day. That's why we like to offer our families other quick good eats, like single serve microwavable meals, easy mac & cheese and the sandwich's favorite partner in lunchtime crime, soup!

Check out our Family Wish List to learn more about how you can help our families spend more time at the hospital with their children by keeping the RMH pantry stocked!


November 2, 2010


Since the families staying at the House were unable to go trick-or-treating in their own neighborhoods this year, our wonderful friends from the Rainbow Pals and Morningview of Irving Park Assisted Living in Greensboro helped to bring the trick-or-treating to them!

Morningview residents put together these fun SpongeBob and monster baskets filled with candy for each of our RMH families and the Rainbow Pals brought them to the House just in time for Halloween.

We are so grateful to the sweet residents and staff from Morningview and the Rainbow Pals for making sure that there was no shortage of treats at the House this year!