by Jan Gunter
It’s my birthday, and I got this really fun card from everyone at work. It lights up when I push the little “Push Here” button. Very fun!
I’m also enjoying all the Happy Birthday messages I am getting from friends on Facebook.
But I’ve been thinking. . . .
I just updated the home page of our website, and I included a darling photo of Kennedy who spent some time in the hospital last year. I was thinking of her story and of so many other family stories – we helped more than 1,300 families last year – and I thought about children who are in the hospital on their birthdays. It does happen. The hospital is certainly not where any child wants to be on their birthday.
My daughter, Lauren, once had surgery on her birthday. It’s a long story, and even though it wasn’t an emergency, the timing couldn’t be avoided. She was 11, she had major ear surgery, she had a huge white bandage around her head, and her friends came over the next day with presents. As her mom, I was not pleased with the timing, but we tried to make the best of it for her. I think she’s turned out ok!
Tarrell is a little guy who spent quite a lot of time here at the Ronald McDonald House, and he celebrated his fifth birthday here, complete with cake and party. Many other children have celebrated birthdays and holidays in the hospital or here at the House.
You see, childhood illness does not wait to come at a convenient time. Childhood illness does not ask permission of parents or their children. We would all say, “No, thank you,” if it did.
And that’s why we are here. That’s why Mary Pendleton made a cake every Tuesday for almost 20 years so families at the House would always have cake.
We are here every day, and we hope that by being here and providing a comfy place for families to stay, we can at least help make the best of it when childhood illness comes calling on special days or any day.
Ronald will always be here at the front door to smile and be cheery. Volunteers will continue to come every day and cook good meals for the families. And just like Motel 6, we’ll leave the light on – no matter what day it is.