By Karen Matuszewski
While attending a thank-you lunch for the volunteers of the second annual Lights of Love 5K Event benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities, I found myself sitting at the table with Kent Burress, RMHC Austin’s CEO. I had seen information about something called a Family Room and took this opportunity to ask Kent more about what this was.
Kent said it was interesting that I asked, as they were in the beginning stages of planning to add a Ronald McDonald Family Room outside of the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Dell Children’s Medical Center. With the medical center being right across the parking lot from the 30-room Ronald McDonald House where we were having lunch, I asked Kent why the need for a Family Room inside this hospital. His answer still brings tears to my eyes. Kent said, “Karen, these are the parents who are too afraid to leave their baby’s bedside to walk across the parking lot.”
At that very moment I knew I had to be a part of this Ronald McDonald Family Room project. Being a board member of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin, I was surrounded by members whose job it is to “build things”. As luck would have it, we were in the planning stages of our HBA Benefit Home, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of that home would go to a charity. I brought the Ronald McDonald House Family Room project to the board who unanimously voted to have the current HBA Benefit Home not only support the building of the Family Room, but also provide a cash donation to Dell Children’s Medical Center (DCMC).
Our builder and associate members were so excited about this opportunity that many of them donated building supplies, labor, services and even the land to build the HBA Benefit Home. We had so many people wanting to donate, we were also able to provide building supplies and services for the construction of the Ronald McDonald Family Room so that it too could be a warm, comforting retreat from the stressful atmosphere of the NICU.
The HBA Benefit home is a beautifully crafted, single story home located in the Hill Country community of West Cypress Hills. The buyer of this special home will not only benefit from the numerous upgrades and designer appointments that were donated, but will also know that their home purchase provided a measure of care and comfort to the many families who will call the Ronald McDonald Family Room at DCMC their “home” for the time they need to be present for their sick child.
Think the HBA Benefit Home might be your new home? Take a tour by clicking this link.
Karen Matuszewski and her husband, Rob, own By Design Real Estate and Custom Home Consulting. They specialize in working with clients who are planning to buy or build a new home. Karen and Rob have been involved with Austin’s Ronald McDonald House Charities since 2005 by hosting fundraising events, preparing meals at the House for the families, bringing Build-A-Bear teddy bears to the House and being a part of the annual Lights of Love 5K & Kids K event. Karen serves on the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Assn. of Greater Austin.