Each year more than a thousand families turn to RMHC Pittsburgh and Morgantown during their greatest time of need. After staying at the Charity, families often want to give back and help others facing the same situation as they did. They know firsthand the difficulty of being far from home with a sick child. They also know firsthand the impact RMHC can have on making this time a little easier.

Providing Meals

The McNulty Family has called the Ronald McDonald House their home not once, not twice, but more than a dozen times. And though they no longer need to stay there, it remains an important part of their lives.

Case was born full-term weighing 2lbs 13 oz. Born with multiple congenital anomalies, he was in and out of the hospital throughout his life. By the time he was ten, he had multiple procedures and had been under anesthesia more than 30 times.

Every time he was in the hospital, his parents, Liz and Dan and three older sisters, Meredith, Samantha, and Lainey stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. They have spent numerous holidays there over the years, including Case’s first Christmas. Remembering that first Christmas away from home, Liz describes it as still feeling like a traditional holiday celebration for the family of six.

“We were all together and the House had a meal, tree and presents. It was the closest thing to being home you could get,” said Liz.

During Case’s medical journey, there were times when he could stay with his family at the Charity. His mom notes he really grew to love going there. In fact, because of the pet therapy program, the McNultys ended up rescuing a dog of their own.

Having his feeding tube and central line removed two years ago, Case no longer requires hospitalized care. The twelve-year-old is busy playing his guitar and video games and recently attended the homecoming dance.

His mom continues returning to the House with her coworkers making meals for the families, something she started doing in 2015.

“I love doing it. I remember how important the meals were to us and wanted to do it for others,” said Liz.

Filling Pantries

For the past two years, Marshall and Amanda Fife have pulled up to the Ronald McDonald House in a truck filled with paper products and pantry items for families staying at the Charity. It’s something they knew they had to do following their stay at the Charity.

The Ronald McDonald House became Marshall and Amanda’s home when their second daughter, Jaelyn was born. When Amanda was six months pregnant, physicians discovered Jaelyn had a heart defect. Immediately following her birth, Jaelyn was transferred to Children’s Hospital where she had open heart surgery at one week old.

“We were grateful there was a last-minute opening for us at the House. It was convenient to be so close,” said Amanda.

Staying at the House also meant Marshall and Amanda could visit with their oldest daughter, Brayleigh, who was 3 ½ at the time. Because of the Covid pandemic, Brayleigh was not allowed in the hospital. Her grandparents would take her to the House, and Marshall and Amanda could visit with her there.

After one month in the hospital, Jaelyn went home. Never forgetting how the Ronald McDonald House supported their family, they knew they had to give back.

Working with family, friends and community members, they got to work by hosting two paper product drives that first year, collecting toilet paper, paper plates and paper towels. They also held an auction for the Charity. With that year being such a success, they did it again. In 2023, they put collection boxes in businesses in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties for paper products. Furthermore, with a monetary donation from Octane Environmental Services and a match from Compliance Services, additional items like snacks, cereal and cleaning supplies were purchased from the Charity’s Wish List. RIP Security Services generously donated a trailer to make this amazing delivery possible.

“These items were provided for us when we were there, and we never had to pay for anything,” said Amanda.

The Fife family’s journey with the Ronald McDonald House began when they needed a place to call home and continues today by helping to make it a home for others. They are already thinking about what they are going to do next year.

Raising Awareness

Maximus is four and a half years old, but he likes to tell you that he is almost five. He loves cars, spaceships, Star Wars, swimming, and spending time with his cousins.

“He is a happy little boy,” said his mom, Malinda.

When Maximus was born, Malinda was on a business trip in Chicago. With three months to go in her pregnancy, the last thing she thought about was giving birth 500 miles from home. But that is exactly what happened. After working all day, she suddenly went into labor and her son was born within the hour. Getting to his family as quickly as possible, Malinda’s husband Michael arrived at the hospital one hour after his son’s birth.

While their son needed to be in the neonatal intensive care unit, Malinda and Michael thought about where they would stay. One of their nurses told them about the Ronald McDonald House. Having heard of the Ronald McDonald House, but never really paying attention to what it does, Michael and Malinda found a new perspective and sense of gratitude for the role it played in their journey.

Being close to their son and not having to worry about the stresses of everyday life, staying at the Ronald McDonald House meant Malinda and Michael could spend all their time focusing on Maximus.

Grateful for the help they received during that time in their lives, Michael and Malinda made it a point to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Pittsburgh when they got home. Making a meal during the holidays of 2019, with family and friends, they decided they would continue this tradition each year, but then the pandemic hit. Looking for other ways to help, they donated gift cards for food and utilized their company match program for donations.

Michael also joined the Red Shoe Society, a young professionals’ group that allows him to be involved with the Charity by giving his time through fundraising, awareness and volunteerism.

Giving back to the Ronald McDonald House is important to Michael and Malinda. They know firsthand the significance of having this organization available during a traumatic time. And they want to make sure other families have it available to them as well.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown
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