Another fun-filled picnic for 6 girls and 4 boys!
The event was another great example of how a smaller turnout provides much more relatedness and allows more families to soak up the attention they so deserve. We will be back to the Ronald McDonald soon!!
The music, Santa, titleholders and other stations really created one of the most peaceful environments we’ve ever been in. Our volunteers and special guests all felt blessed and joyful after the event. The pictures tell a lot of the story. We look forward to this event every year, and even more so now that we’ve got Santa in our back pocket!
The Southern MN Chapter’s final family experience for 2018
The ten year old’s story was so incredible – she not only survived the treatments and cancer battle, but grew and found many talents in the isolated room, and was one of the most positive kids ever, according to her mom. She even passed fourth grade on the A honor roll in the middle of it all. I found out in person just how incredible she is.
What an honor to have one of our facilities reach out to us for a change. The event is an annual event for the neonatal unit in Rochester, for all patients and families from the previous five years. The weather looked like it would be full of rain for days leading up to the event, but not a drop came and the sky was full of sun!
Our family event with the Arnold family was a powerful experience. Little Bradley, age 5 (now age 6), was diagnosed with kidney cancer on November 14th, 2017. He had major surgery to remove a 3+ pound tumor & his left kidney, followed by a lung biopsy. Bradley underwent a 19-week chemotherapy plan. He had a clean bill of health, until weeks ago, when a new spot was found. More treatment is in the future.
As for the event, we partnered with the Geneva Cancer Run, a local 501c3 that raises money for families dealing with cancer. The run is an annual event, and it happened to land on the same day as Bradley’s benefit – seriously! The Geneva Cancer Run decided to make their first stop at the Arnold farm for lunch. The site and sound of 150+ bikes coming down the road and into the driveway is unlike any experience I’ve ever had. Bradley waited in awe and watched as the bikes rode by him one by one, waving and honking. The bikes parked and headed for cover from the incoming rain in the shed, where lunch was served. After everyone was served, the GCR folks, in partnership with another biker group, ABATE (American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education), presented Bradley with some Harley Davidson gear. Then, they presented a three-wheel motorized Harley Davidson tricycle. The Geneva Cancer run donated just shy of $1,000 to the family. Upon returning to Geneva for the cancer auction, the auctioneer placed a plate on his head and took in more donations as he walked around, adding another $300 in cash, all given to the family.
As for our foundation, we followed the presentation with our own. We presented the boy with a gift bag from the Mall of America, including stuffed animals, cards, drinking cups, books, and many coupons for free entry into the different amusement zones at MOA. We also presented the family with a gas card, an MOA shopping card, and a two night stay at the Radisson Blu, connected to the MOA. The mother was crying through most of both presentations, and was extremely kind, grateful, and appreciative of all our efforts. This will go down as an experience none of us in attendance will ever forget, and hopefully will lead to an experience the boy and his family will never forget!
Maddie was also interviewed by the Owatonna newspaper, and was incredible. “They all deserve a day like this,” she stated, referring to the other children with cancer she got to know while staying at the Ronald McDonald House during treatment phases. The story made the front page, appropriately titled “Queen Maddie.”
Our annual Luau event was doubled this year, as we took a party into the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester a week after our Minneapolis visit.
"One little energetic boy couldn’t stop jumping, running, and even tackling things. The same little boy thought it was a better idea for him to paint the nails and face of parents and staff of the house.