April 2012
Issue IV
The Ronald Report

How you are helping to keep families with cancer together.
 
Past and Present Hope Awards Honorees
5th Annual Hope Awards
On April 17, 2012, Ronald McDonald House New York held the 5th Annual Hope Awards Ceremony. This wonderful evening, held during Volunteer Appreciation Week each year, recognizes the dedication and accomplishments of our over 750 volunteers. Highlighted during this event is the exemplary commitment of four exceptional individuals who are presented with the highest award the House can bestow upon a volunteer, The Hope Award.
The four honorees are nominated by their peers and reviewed by a selection committee, each of them having made an outstanding commitment to Ronald McDonald House New York and the cause of pediatric cancer. These men and women have helped create Hope in the lives of children and families living with cancer.
We are grateful to all of our volunteers and community supporters of the Ronald McDonald House New York. 
Meet the Honorees
Clemencia “Clem” Colon-Neyland has been a weekly volunteer at the House since 2008. A member of our Thursday night team, she’s been a very important part of our family. Every Thursday evening, Clem arrives with a smile on her face and arms open to the families. She and her team members offer conversation over dinner and lots of interaction with the children and their families through arts and crafts and games. But her work doesn’t end there. Clem’s team members describe her as a “complete volunteer” because of her work on fundraising events and her efforts to introduce new donors to the House. For the past four years, she has served as co-chair of the Team Ronald volunteer fundraiser event, slated this year for June 13th at Guastavino’s (last year’s event raised more than $500,000). For that enormous task, Clem spends countless hours thinking of creative new ways to appeal to New Yorkers planning to spend one exciting evening giving of their own resources in support of our families. Clem, who works at Francky L’Official Salon, also applies her artistic talents to decorating tables and choosing lighting for the event. Clem’s impeccable sense of style and eye for detail are very special gifts that have helped the House to accommodate its families as well as its donors in ways that we could never have imagined. Clem’s biggest supporter, husband James Neyland, can be seen working alongside her at our fundraising events, ready to offer an encouraging smile. With hearts bigger than this city, we’re very grateful to have them both on our team.
Edith Dolowich is one of those very special volunteers whose dedication to our mission has set the model for many. For more than 50 years, she’s been lending a helping hand and a very special heart to fighting cancer. Edith began her volunteer work at Cancer Cares and then the American Cancer Society. In 1985, she helped found the Guy M. Stewart Cancer Fund, which raises funds to support Ronald McDonald House and the pediatric unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Edith’s colleagues at the Guy M. Stewart Cancer Fund consider her a tremendous motivator with contagious enthusiasm. Under her guidance, the Fund has hosted 27 annual luncheons and fashion shows — all accomplished while she worked full-time at Brooklyn College until three years ago. Every year, Edith and her colleagues also bring adorable, cuddly teddy bears to cheer up the children staying at Ronald McDonald House New York.  Through her dedication, the Guy M. Stewart Cancer Fund has sponsored the Ronald McDonald House Library, Steinway Piano, several weeks of “Share A Night” sponsorships along with funding of future projects. Now, at age 93, she continues to spend time helping to support the families at the House. Her own family, Marvin and Ann Ober, Nancy Ober, and Sena and Gary Dolowich, along with 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren are incredibly proud of her efforts on behalf of families fighting cancer.  For her hard work and exceptional giving, we are eternally grateful to Edith for her many years of kind, caring service.
Ruth Schlossberg is on her second stint as a volunteer at the House. The first was in the mid-1990s, and then, missing the House, she came back more than 10 years ago and has been a dedicated weekly volunteer since. As co-leader of the Sunday night team, she shares responsibility for planning special activities for the families. Since the children often have treatment on Monday, Sunday nights tend to be quieter and calmer in tone, and the team often organizes arts and crafts, cooking, yoga, or in warm weather, special treats on the terrace, such as tropical drinks, barbecues, or even water balloon fights. Once a year, the team puts on a carnival with games, a tattoo artist, stilt walkers, and caricature artists. Ruth’s efforts for the families extend outside the House, too. She has organized trips for kids and their parents to her office at Jones Apparel, where she holds a position in product development. Through her organization, she has secured donations of clothing for families at the House. We thank her for her enormous heart, generosity in the time and caring that she has given to our families, and her special gift for connecting with our children.
Richard “Dick” Tegtmeier and Tucker began volunteering at the House in 2007. They come faithfully every Wednesday evening when Richard and his best friend, Tucker, an 8-year-old Basset Hound, visit with the children and their families. Everyone is happy to see Dick, but when he arrives with his canine sidekick, there’s a buzz as exclamations ring through the House: “Tucker is here!” The kids love playing with him, and he’s a buddy to parents, volunteers, and staff, too, offering them much needed comfort and joy. Dick also donates air miles to the families at the House, and he recently donated a boat to the organization. His family owns a catering company, and every holiday season they bring a gingerbread house for the children and families to enjoy. His daughter, Christine, has generously sponsored the catering for the “Light a Light, Share a Night” holiday celebration. In addition to Christine, his two other children, Rick and Tom, and 10 grandchildren are also proud of his and Tucker’s volunteer work. There’s a special joy that comes to a person when they’re greeted by our dedicated therapy dog volunteers, and their contributions have been tremendous.
 
Upcoming Events
5/6
TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour
6/13
Open Arms Event
9/29
Block Party
11/3
Kids Fun Run
11/7
Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Open Arms

This year's Team Ronald "Open Arms" Event will be held on Wednesday, June 13th at Guastavino's, located at 409 East 59th Street in New York City.

Team Ronald is the biggest volunteer-organized fundraising event of the year. This spectacular evening is filled with great music, food, open bar, prizes, and dancing. Through your support of this event, you fund all of the volunteer programs throughout the year. Come and join in the fun and revelry of a great evening in the beautiful venue of Guastavino’s and know that you are supporting the efforts of the volunteers who work to ensure that our children are children first and children with aggressive pediatric cancer second.

Click here to buy your tickets now! Please note: The price for ALL tickets will increase to $150 as of June 6th.

This year, our event will feature an online auction. Bidding will open on June 1st. The auction will feature exciting prizes including travel packages, theater tickets, jewelry, sports tickets and paraphernalia, and much, much more. Please visit our auction homepage for details. We are encouraging everyone to pre-register for the auction today. Pre-registering will not only significantly decrease the amount of time you spend checking in at the event, but it will also enable you to participate in the online auction before arriving at Guastavino’s.  By clicking here, you will be directed to the registration page. If you pre-register by June 12th, you will be entered into a raffle for a $500 Apple Gift Card!

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Terri Eggers, Director of Volunteers, at teggers@rmh-newyork.org or Jamie Serkin, Assistant to the Director of HR and Volunteers, at jserkin@rmh-newyork.org.

CPR Training

Due to high demand, we will again be offering a CPR training session. This has been tentatively scheduled for May 30th from 6:00PM-9:00PM in the Macy's Living Room. An informational e-mail will be sent out in the near future to let you know how to sign up.

The Tree of Life

One of the most profoundly meaningful ways to celebrate a life is to honor and memorialize a loved one with a leaf on The Tree of Life wall sculpture, a vibrant symbol of life and strength.

Leaves are engraved with a message and loved one’s name with your gift of $2,500 each.  Your leaf will be placed on The Tree of Life during a special dedication ceremony.  This generosity is greatly appreciated and will help us continue to offer services to families arriving today, tomorrow and thereafter.  For more information or to make a donation to The Tree of Life, please contact Nikki Margarites, Director of Major Gifts at 212-639-0207 or nmargarites@rmh-newyork.org.

 
2012 Hope Awards Honorees with President & CEO, William T. Sullivan
 
Santa and a House Guest
CPR Training
On April 4th, Yonkers Fire Fighters and First Responders, lead by Anthony Mangione, volunteered their time and talents to train 22 members of our volunteer corps and staff of Ronald McDonald House New York in the basics of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).  Our volunteers were carefully instructed in adult, youth, and infant CPR.  Each participant then practiced this new skill on mannequins and were finally tested and certified.  All agreed it was a big change from the way CPR used to be practiced and that we hoped never to have to use such a skill, but it is a really great resource to have. Participants were also instructed in the use of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and the Heimlich maneuver.  Thank you to our great instructors and to the following volunteers and staff who participated:
Amy Accardi, Althea Alvarez, Shelly Appell, Carol Boswell, Gay Cropper, Nadina DiRuzzo, Nina Friedman, Lisa Ganzenmuller, Guthrie Garvin, Sue Houston, Latifa Kahric, Laura Lenihan, Sherrie Maricle, Carlo Montali, Beverly Paulis, Milda Plioplys, Silia Polyzogopoulou, John Rohs, Helena Russo, Lisa Stewart, Timothy Stroth, Francine Urist
 
Spotlight on a Beloved Angel on a Leash
By Megs DiDario, Volunteer Staff Writer
Every Thursday night, the families of the House are treated to a visit from one of their most beloved furry friends, the lovable apricot toy poodle, Callie. As part of Ronald McDonald House’s Therapy Dog Program, Nancy George-Michalson and her husband, Bob, parents to Callie, bring her to the House to visit and play with the kids.
“The families of the house have grown to look forward to Callie’s weekly visits,” says George-Michalson.
This is immediately evident while watching Callie charm the families of the house with her dazzling smile and tricks, one of the most impressive of which is her ability to “dance” on her hind legs. She also loves to play with the kids, all the while performing tricks in exchange for treats.
Nancy and Bob welcomed Callie into their home nine years ago. When Callie was just two years old, Nancy realized that there was something very special about her during a trip to Central Park, when she sat on an elderly gentleman’s lap and instantly made him smile.  Shortly thereafter, Nancy enrolled Callie in the national Pet Partners program, through which she received training to become a therapy dog.
Nancy and Callie have been visiting the House for close to two and a half years since learning about the “Angels on a Leash” therapy dog program, overseen by house staff member Chaplain Cherilyn Frei.
Callie has many other furry friends who visit the home each weeknight through the Angel on a Leash Therapy Dog Program.  A very special thanks to all of the Pet Therapy animals and their families for the warm energy they bring to the House each weeknight.
 
Birthdays
5/2
Matthew Kuehl
5/11
Jill Kleczko
5/23
Nathaniel Martin
5/2
Francine Urist
5/11
Keren Weinberg
5/23
James Wright
5/3
Morgan Foley
5/13
Caitlin McHugh
5/25
Anne Clark
5/5
Lenny Forman
5/16
Lizbeth Rodriguez
5/27
Petra Priborska
5/6
Louise Tashjian
5/18
Jared Van Vleet
5/29
Carol Boswell
5/6
Nykia Wharton
5/19
Benjamin Carr
5/29
Gracie Mercado
5/7
Kimberly McGeever
5/19
Jennifer Wolosoff
5/30
Kevin Glander
5/11
Bruce Dimpflmaier
5/21
Corinne Colen
 
 
 
 
Letter From William T. Sullivan, President and CEO
It is hard to believe how fast the new year seems to be moving.  May is upon us.  We recently had the great opportunity to gather together for the 5th Annual Hope Awards where we were able to recognize four incredibly deserving individuals with the highest award the House bestows upon a volunteer: the Hope Award.  Ruth, Clem, Edie, and Dick & Tucker are inspirations to us all.  They joined an esteemed group of past Hope Award recipients who continue their exemplary service. Aside from paying tribute to these four individuals, I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our dedicated volunteers who make the House such a wonderful respite and Home for the children and families that we serve.
During April and May, I have been and will be conducting my annual Pizza with the President meetings.  It has been a great opportunity for me to meet many of the new volunteers and to sit and chat with our seasoned veterans.  As I have reviewed with you, there are many changes occurring at the House. From the outside work that is a result of local law #11, to the renovations of 42 guest rooms this year, to our new and exciting Hospital Outreach Programs, activity abounds.
Fast approaching on the calendar is the Team Ronald Event, “Open Arms.”  Your participation is key to the success of this event.  We really need you to buy your ticket, ask some friends to join you, solicit for raffle and silent auction prizes, and pre-register for the Silent Auction. Details are listed in this newsletter.  Remember, your support of this event provides the resources for your program throughout the year.  I look forward to seeing you on June 13th at Guastavino’s.
Thank you for making Ronald McDonald House New York the Heart of New York.
W. T. Sullivan
 

To submit an article for consideration, please e-mail Jamie Serkin at
JSerkin@rmh-newyork.org.

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