For Eliza's birthday, we decided to nix the presents. Let's face it, girlfriend did not need any more toys. Instead, we thought her birthday might be a great opportunity to give back!
So let me give you a little background...
Almost a year ago, J.B. and I lived in the Ronald McDonald House of Nashville while Eliza was in the Vanderbilt NICU. You see, once I was discharged from Vanderbilt myself, there we were in downtown Nashville. Our newborn was undergoing some massive surgeries and healing and nearby hotels running an easy $300 a night. That's where the RMDH came in.
Ronald McDonald Houses exist near children's hospitals all over the country. They provide a place for families to stay while their children are in the hospital, regardless of whether or not they can pay anything. You're given a private room and bathroom that reminds me of a college dorm. Every house has multiple kitchens, living areas, children's play rooms, laundry facilities, and computer access. Most nights, a volunteer group of some sort (companies, churches, etc) provides dinner for all the families in the house.
Often times, J.B. and I would come dragging in the RMDH around 11pm to find leftovers waiting for us in the kitchen. After a warm meal, we'd crash and get up at 5am the next morning and, after grabbing some snacks in the kitchen, we'd head back to the hospital. The ease of the house is a perfect contrast to the worries and energy parents are leaving within the walls of the hospital.
Every family that has stayed at a RMDH knows the incredible value of what they do there. Having your sweet baby in the hospital is gut wrenching enough, but Ronald McDonald House Charities does everything they can to keep families together without worry.
This place has been such a wonderful part of Eliza's story, and it endlessly blesses so many other families every single day! So for her birthday, we decided to collect donations for the RMDH in Eliza's honor.
We shared our plan with family and friends and were so blown away by the excitement of them all! Even people that hadn't met Eliza asked if they could contribute!
Yesterday, during a short break from her spina bifida clinic, we dashed the two blocks over to the RMDH of Nashville. We were greeted immediately by the incredibly warm staff and even the house therapy dog, Sadie! She showered Eliza with kisses while J.B. and I were able to drop off our donation. A donation that would provide a family with a place to stay for 53 nights!! 53!!!
I love this place.
I love what they stand for and what the do, both in the small moments and in the big ones! Ronald McDonald House Charities, you are amazing!
To find your local Ronald McDonald House and donate to this incredible cause, visit www.rmhc.org.