AP NEWS

The house that love built needs help

August 19, 2018

Each year, more than 1,600 families whose children are facing life-threatening illnesses find refuge in the loving walls of the three San Antonio Ronald McDonald Houses.

Our mission stretches beyond just operating facilities that provide a safe, temporary living accommodations for these critically ill children and their families; it is to give families the gift of togetherness.

RMHC provides a supportive and caring environment where families facing similar circumstances can lend and receive mutual support — a truly priceless gift.

Often a child with a disease lives far from the hospital, creating an especially stressful situation for parents. Not only are they coping with a seriously ill child, they also face the burden of being away from home for days, weeks, sometimes months.

Before the first RMH house opened in San Antonio in 1985, the only lodging options for such families were lonely and expensive hotel rooms or the hospital.

To add to the chaos and stress of the situation, these families often find themselves in a strange city, away from the crucial support of their home network. Many parents find this to be a desperately unhappy experience — at a time when their child most needs their strength and encouragement.

Still, even with three houses in San Antonio and a fourth on the way, the need is great. Each year families are turned away. Last year, we had to say “no” to 185 families due to lack of space. They are forced to stay in a hotel they can’t afford or a sterile and expensive hospital, or sleep in their cars, or return home before their child’s treatment can be completed.

In the 32 years that I have been involved with RMHC, I have watched this demand for lodging increase year after year. With the help of people like you, we will be able to complete the fourth house, which will bring 21 more desperately needed bedrooms, adding more than 8,000 nights of lodging a year.

It is because of your continued support that we are able to provide these families not just a room, but a home — a home where hope lives.

Pat Bivin is the executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities San Antonio. For more information, go to rmhcsanantonio.org/history

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