April 2020

Ronald McDonald House – a Modified Mission during COVID-19

Our highest priority is – and has always been – the health and safety of the pediatric patient families we serve, and the inspiring staff and volunteers that bring our mission to life.  On March 18th, our Ronald McDonald House was filled with patient families navigating the COVID-19 pandemic – on top of having a seriously ill or injured child – when we sustained a 5.7 magnitude earthquake.Our local partner hospitals [Primary Children’s Hospital, the University of Utah Hospitals and Shriner’s Hospital for Children] had cancelled all non-urgent medical care and surgeries to prepare for the pandemic. Our volunteer and kitchen programs were suspended to comply with local health department Covid-19 orders. Our Ronald McDonald House serves wonderfully diverse families that have traveled from dozens of rural Utah communities, surrounding states and several countries.  We serve the most vulnerable among us – children that may be immune compromised – and the families that love and care for them each day.On the day of the earthquake, our guest families were frightened and gathered together near the exits as we endured hours of aftershocks. It became apparent that we needed to take decisive action to keep families safe. We created an emergency lodging and hospitality fund and have moved approximately 50 patient families (150 children and adults) into safe, separate local lodging.

We’ve created new partnerships and are currently providing free transportation, food, lodging and in-home hospitality for families that simply cannot go home.  We suspended our hospital-based Ronald McDonald Family Room programs and temporarily turned the space over to Primary Children’s Hospital to use as needed during the pandemic.

Our charitable mission is #keepingfamiliesclose when they need each other most. We’ve taken unprecedented steps to keep families close and to minimize the spread of Covid-19 in our community, and especially for this vulnerable population that we care for. While it may look a little different, we are going to continue to fulfill our mission over the next 60-90 days by providing the care and comfort with separate and safe lodging, transportation, and food to high-acuity pediatric patients. We know that we are stronger together and we’ll continue to surround families with support, love and compassion. Our mission will endure this pandemic and we’ll be stronger because of it.

If you would like to keep up to date with Ronald McDonald House Charities, you call follow us on Facebook (@rmhcslc).

Join Us for Our 2020 Virtual Gala!

This year we are inviting everyone we know to participate in our virtual gala for three good reasons:
  1. We need you now more than ever to serve pediatric patient families that cannot go home
  2. We are all craving inspiration, purpose and joyful distraction
  3. You can participate from the comfort of your own home, and this will be a great time for a great cause!

Please join us as we partner with KUTV2 on April 25 at 6pm for an hour broadcast celebrating our mission and the families we serve.  To get more information on how to participate and pre-register with our partner GiveSmart, CLICK HERE


Do you have an Immune-Compromised Child?
Share Your Story with us!

We want to learn about and share your experience of having a vulnerable child during a global pandemic. The world is now experiencing what many RMHC families face every day – medical uncertainty and fear.  We want to share your courage and strength as we ask everyone to stay home to protect those you love most – and all those that may be vulnerable in our communities.  Why do you ask people to stay home and mitigate the spread of Covid-19?  Please share your “My why..” We will post these profiles on our Facebook and Instagram pages to remind people why we are all staying home and who we are hoping to keep safe.
To submit your photo and message, please email Katie at katie@rmhslc.org Thank you!

Meet Sofia Egües and Her Family

Sofia Egües has been receiving treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for Children and is a long-time pediatric patient that we have served. In light of COVID-19, we asked her father, Ismael, to describe what it meant to have the Ronald McDonald House as a resource, especially now.

“ Before the whole Covid-19 event, we felt so lucky to have found the Ronald McDonald House because my daughter had a big surgery that was life-changing and the recovery is really long. If it wasn’t for the Ronald McDonald House we would have to delay the surgery because we would not have any place to stay.

With this whole situation, we could not be in a better place than being under your wing. We have everything now – a place to stay, especially to avoid going out. My daughter, Sofia, has Muscular Dystrophy, and very weak lungs, so we have to avoid taking her out by all means. We feel so lucky to have found the Ronald McDonald House and I know all the other families feel the same.” – Ismael Egues, father of Sofia

Helping Hands Donations –
We need your support now more than ever!

At this time, we usually solicit Helping Hands donations for our gala. These donations are given just prior to and at our annual Gala to go directly to support our core mission of #keepingfamiliestogether. This year we need this support now more than ever.Our mission continues with the families who have no choice but to be in the hospital, even at this critical time. Families who require the most critical care are being housed remotely and safely, transportation is available via our own shuttle to and from the hospitals, and food/groceries are provided directly and with gift cards. Not to mention, we continue the most basic operations at the Ronald McDonald House to ensure we can deliver our mission to the highest standard when we are able to operate at normal capacity.If you are in a position to provide some of this critical funding, we invite you to make a Helping Hands donation. CLICK HERE to enter any amount.

Special News for Facebook Birthday Fundraisers

Even during these uncertain times, Ronald McDonald House Charities is supporting pediatric patient families and continue to need resources now more than ever. Additionally, people continue to have birthday celebrations virtually with their friends and families while at a distance.
Our friends from Nate Wade Subaru understand both of these situations extremely well – they will be celebrating their 51st Birthday this month. In honor of their birthday and for the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities – Nate Wade Subaru will match every birthday donation made up to a total of $5,000 during this time. It’s their way of saying, Happy Birthday and also their way to Share the Love during this time.
Create your Facebook Birthday Fundraiser!  CLICK HERE

A Spring Message for Hope, Health and Safety from our CEO, Carrie Romano

I’m wishing you a Spring that’s filled with hope, love and healing as we all live through this historic pandemic together.  May you feel healthy and strong as we enter a season of sacred celebrations with Easter, Passover, Visakha Puja, Ramadan, the coming Spring and the hope it represents.

To the amazing RMHC staff, volunteers and donors that bring our mission to life – thank you for your absolutely inspiring and heroic work to ensure our mission continues during this pandemic.

To the courageous pediatric patient families that bravely face medical uncertainty each day – and have done so long before this pandemic – thank you for showing us courage and perspective when perspective seems impossible.

Thank you so very much to our amazing health care partners for showing us what bravery and compassion looks like.

At Ronald McDonald House Charities, I’ve watched families over many years continue to love and laugh boldly together in the face of unimaginable circumstances with a critically ill or injured child.  It’s remarkable that living with a dark fog of medical uncertainty can somehow help each of us to see very clearly what matters most. When I was diagnosed with Stage 3B (TNBC) breast cancer last year, I had to learn to live fully in the moment with uncertainty. Today I’m overflowing with gratitude to be able to color eggs with my daughter.

As we work to isolate and distance ourselves and our loved ones, we’re witnessing an unprecedented act of love and unity for the most vulnerable among us. We will be able to gather together again because we know we’re stronger together. May you find hope and renewal in this sacred Spring season.