by Kent Burress
“How did that happen?” As a child, I cannot tell you how many times I heard that question – usually there was some broken object involved. And the two preferred answers were the classic “I don’t know” and the also very popular “I think the cat did it.” Poor cat.
First, I want you to know that when the first family checks into the new Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. David’s Medical Center it will be the culmination of over eight years of patience and perseverance. There has never been any doubt that a Family Room was needed, but finding space for the Family Room was always a challenge. Anytime I would visit the hospital I would scope out the floors looking for possibilities – persistence does have its rewards.
Two summers ago Kyle Parks, one of our board members, and I had lunch with Earl Maxwell from the St. David’s Community Foundation. We didn’t talk about the Family Room at all. We actually talked about the Healthy Smiles Program
that is supported by the Foundation. Earl connected me with Dr. Patrice Coons who is the clinical director of that program, and she and I met a couple of weeks later, and I toured one of their excellent mobile dental clinics. Somewhere in our conversation I mentioned the Ronald McDonald Family Room Program. A week or so later I got an email from Dr. Coons saying she had mentioned the Family Room program to Deborah Durham and that there was interest in learning more. Deborah Durham set up a meeting with Mark Clayton, the senior vice president of strategic planning and business development who then set up a meeting with CEO Richard Hammett and Rhonda Sagesar, director of St. David’s NICU who called in Mike Ridgway, the St. David’s Medical Center Facility Management Director – and we were off and running. So that’s how it happened. I may have skipped across a few details.
But here’s the point I want to make. All along the way, everyone made a sacrifice of something very important to them – whether it was the possibility of an additional dental van in the near future or much needed floor space at the medical center. I know those sacrifices weren’t made lightly. But I also know that they were willingly made so that families with newborns in the NICU would not have to sacrifice being with their new babies during a very frightening and uncertain time.
So what does that have to do with you? I’m asking you to make a sacrifice as well – of your time to volunteer at the Family Room, or of your pocketbook to financially support the Ronald McDonald Family Room program and the families that will be staying with us. Like all the other sacrifices that have been made, I know yours will not be made lightly or easily – but you can be confident that by making a donation or lending a hand you will make a powerful and enduring difference in the lives of our families.