I love Memphis for so many reasons, but I have to say that St. Jude is near the top of that list. For those who don’t know, St. Jude is a research hospital here in Memphis that welcomes families from around the world who have children suffering from cancer and other diseases. No family pays a penny for treatment, travel, housing, or food because St Jude believes that the only thing the family should have to worry about is helping their child live.
Did you catch that? Not a penny on treatment, travel, housing, or food. That’s incredible.
I’ve known and loved this about St. Jude for years. But today I learned more about the free housing they offer to families. This morning I was invited for a tour of the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis. And oh my heart, you guys, what a special place.
Floor to ceiling, the RMH is full of color and life. It’s clear that it’s designed for children and their families from the minute you walk in the door. There are play areas are around every corner of the campus and gathering areas all throughout. It reminded me of college life… but much classier. Individual rooms for each family (similar to a hotel), but then with so many common areas for eating and visiting and playing. The idea is to bring together these families who are facing such similar things to give them community. This short 2 minute video from the families’ perspectives explains it much better than I can:
Oh my gracious, those precious babies fighting for their lives. RMH houses children from birth to 19 years old who are being treated at St. Jude (along with their families). At no cost to the families. Just like St. Jude. Oh, I loved this place. So much so that I started asking about volunteer opportunities (as you guys know, we’re looking for new possibilities for this fall). I struck up a conversation with the volunteer sitting at the front desk and she shared with me the joy and fulfillment of volunteering at Ronald McDonald House.
I’d like you guys to meet Ms. Kay. She has been volunteering at RMH for 3 years now. I loved how her eyes lit up when she talked about how much she loves getting to be a part of helping here. I can only imagine the blessing her smile has been to so many hurting families over those years. She is one of over 1,000 RMH of Memphis volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering here, please check out the volunteer opportunities listed on their website. Or if you’d like to give financially, they have several ways for you to do that. And if you live in a city that hosts your own Ronald McDonald House, consider looking into how you can get involved.
John Parie, the Communications Coordinator, gave me a tour of the campus and answered all my many questions (I love being a blogger, by the way – people actually like when I’m curious and ask questions, ha!). As a thank you he gave me these awesome socks so I can show my support of the Ronald McDonald House. If you’d like your own pair of socks, you can purchase them by visiting the front desk of the RMH of Memphis. Or you can check your local chapter for availability. 🙂
Thanks, Ronald McDonald House of Memphis for having me out today and thank you especially for all you do. You guys are just one more reason to love Memphis. 🙂