DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ronald McDonald House is celebrating 40 years with its “Give a Little Love” campaign, encouraging people to donate $40 to help families stay close to the care their child needs .
For one Troy family, the organization was crucial when their daughter needed care at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“We really hadn’t heard of it,” admits Shellie Drake.
Her daughter Adelyn was born by emergency C-section November 8, 2012. Twenty-four hours later, Adelyn was taken to Dayton Children’s because of some complications. Having just given birth, Shellie wanted to stay close.
“It was just a nice home away from home when you’re in a very uncertain time in your life,” says Shellie.
Adelyn spent the next two weeks in the NICU at Dayton Children’s. During that time, Shellie and her husband stayed at the Ronald McDonald House right across the street.
“The Ronald McDonald House helps you do that and helps you focus on your child without any other worries about where food is going to come from, where you’re going to sleep, how you’re going to get a shower in the morning,” says Shellie.
For her, it wasn’t just about the sanctuary and place to rest but more about the warmth and personal touch.
“To have that smiling face there, and you’re just like OK, maybe there is hope. This is OK. Things are calm. We can get some rest. And like I said, they just treated us like family,” smiles Shellie.
Five months later, they found themselves back at the Ronald McDonald House, but this time in Columbus.
“April 12th, we went to Nationwide Children’s and she had about a ten-hour open heart surgery,” says Shellie.
While Adelyn was in the hospital for two months, they stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.
At 7-months-old, Adelyn died from congenital heart failure.
In her memory, Shellie and her husband started a 5K in 2014 to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. They called the 5K Adelyn’s Rainbow Run.
“We felt like to help us grieve was to give back,” states Shellie.
Adelyn’s Rainbow Run has raised more than $20,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.
“It was a happy memory in a very tough time. I look back on staying there and I immediately– It’s a calm feeling. That’s what also helped us know we needed to give back to them. It was a happy time in a very tough time,” says Shellie.
The 5K is always held on the last Saturday in June. It was canceled this year due to COVID-19, but it will be held again in 2021.