The following is a letter written to the coordinator of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. This is the second family room installed by Ronald McDonald House New York in a New York City partner hospital after the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County in Brooklyn in the spring of 2016.
Equal Opportunity Health Care for Every Child is the Goal
A little girl in the NICU at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County receives toys from RMH-NY.
To understand a bit more context around the letter, it is important to know the backstory of the Ronald McDonald Family Room and a bit more about the expanded mission of Ronald McDonald House New York.
We continue to serve families in our House on East 73rd street, but these family rooms are the embodiment of a critical expansion launched by Ronald McDonald House New York to bring our services to vulnerable NYC families with children facing pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and seeking treatment in the New York City hospital system. More specifically, Ronald McDonald House New York is working with safety net hospitals that are the backbone of the public health system in NYC.
RMH-NY’s vision is to see a world where children with cancer and other serious illnesses and their caregivers have the resources and freedom they need to thrive.
The launching of each Ronald McDonald Family Room is another giant step in the direction of fulfilling that vision for all families in New York City.
Ronald McDonald House New York expansion includes 22 public and safety-net hospital partners across NYC
Ronald McDonald Family Rooms
Ronald McDonald Family Rooms are located near the pediatric unit in local hospitals and serve as one of our models of growth. They provide support to families and caregivers of hospitalized children with offerings such as laundry services, snacks, food, personal care items, self-care sessions, creative activities, mail delivery and much more.
The family rooms allow caregivers to prioritize their own health and well-being, so they can focus on what’s most important: time close to their child and getting well.
By providing this mother with everything she could ever imagine she needed, she was able to stay energized and focused on the only important thing: the health of her daughter and bringing her home from the hospital.
This young mother was compelled to express her gratitude for all the ways that the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst took care of her and her fiancé and helped them to get through what would have been a much rougher and darker time without benefits that the family room provided daily.
The view from the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.
Read the mother’s letter below:
Dear Ronald McDonald Family Room,
The Family Room and its staff has been one of the best blessings since I got admitted here at Elmhurst Hospital. I never knew such a room existed in any hospital here in the states.
When I got admitted for my pregnancy for the arrival of my daughter, my fiancé would often come visit the family room and then come tell me about the room. At first nothing mattered but the health of my baby, until that one day my fiancé took me to visit the family room. I never looked back.
Due to my daughter’s stay at the NICU, this room has been our number one place to hang. The family room has been very helpful. It gives us space to breathe when we feel stressed and mentally exhausted.
A young mother shows off onesies created by the team who runs the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. They were given to her as a celebratory graduation gift. She and her daughter are finally going home.
As a mother to a newborn who is in the NICU, this room has helped in ways I can’t imagine. The room is filled with good, calm, positive vibes. The staff, Jen and Feng, are very welcoming and they cater kindly to us who use the room. I could always count on this room.
Since the birth of my daughter, I have not spent a day without her. Her father and I always make sure we come to visit her even though she is surrounded by amazing nurses and doctors.
Some days, I am in a rush leaving my house, but I don’t worry because I know when I get to the family room, I will be well taken care of.
I love eating healthy and that is exactly what you will find in the family room. Healthy choices of something to snack on. So much to enjoy in the room such as fresh fruits, freshly made smoothies, juices, snacks, teas, etc. If you have been using the family room as long as my family, then you’ll be lucky enough to be treated to different cuisines of your choosing every two weeks or so. I am a foodie and love trying foods from different cultures.
There is much to do in the family room. If you are into massages, Wednesday is the day. I often look forward to Wednesday because who wouldn’t look forward to a relaxing massage. These massages truly help with relaxation and relieving stress. The messages help me a lot because it has been very hectic since the birth of my daughter and her being in the NICU even though she is doing amazing and we are very thankful.
A rendering of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.
The family room has so much to offer. On Mondays, a beautiful dog called Luna comes to visit to give people like myself comfort and love.
In the room you can be creative in the arts and crafts area. I’m no artist but made sure that I created something for my daughter.
Mom and daughter doing art in the Ronald McDonald Family Room.
There’s a TV area where you can snack away as you enjoy screen time, books to read or even take home, games to play, toys and recliner chairs where can relax and enjoy the beautiful view.
Nobody wants to be in a hospital, so a room like this truly does make a difference in many ways. If more hospital centers had such a room, patients and their family members would have something joyful and positive to look forward to, the way I did with my family.
We appreciate the family room and how much it helped us. We created so many memories and memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
And of course, my daughter will hear all about the adventures her father and mother enjoyed in the family room as she gets older. Thank you!
Mom, Dad and Derek just released from the Elmhurst NICU and celebrating at the Ronald McDonald Family Room before going home.
As we expand our mission to touch more and more families in need across New York City, we seek your support to assist us in reaching our goals. We are determined to successfully widen our reach and give every child and their family an equal opportunity to receive the healthcare needed to survive and thrive.
Give to Ronald McDonald House New York to ensure that every child, no matter their social determinants of health, can access the resources needed to create the best outcome possible.
by Ruth Browne, President and CEO.
Cancer survival rates overall have improved in the United States for the past five decades. Forty years ago, when Ronald McDonald House-New York’s (RMH-NY) started out, only 15% of children using our services survived. Today 80% of children using our services now survive.