The Red Lanyard

A nod and a smile in passing.  A cheerful face and a table to sit at in the cafeteria. A shoulder to lean on and a handful of tissues for when you’re feeling blue. These are the benefits of the Red Lanyard. Oh, there are material benefits, as well. A hot meal, a comfortable bed, a place to relax other than the bedside of your sick child. Yes, I’m talking about the infamous Ronald McDonald House Charities. Everyone knows someone who knows someone that has been a guest there.

Wearing the Red Lanyard is like having a membership into a secret society. The only way to get in is to be glassy eyed from lack of sleep, paper-faced from stress and lack of sunlight.  Your child must be sick and you must be far from home. All others need not apply.  Anyone that has ever worn the Red Lanyard has that sense of what others are going through. A comraderie formed simply from the the act of wearing a  scrap of red around your neck.

Several weeks ago, the social worker approached me and suggested that maybe I’d like to take advantage of what RMHC had to offer. I politely declined.  Surely Capt Snuggles would be getting better before too long and besides, I was sure there were others who needed the room more than I.

The weeks have ticked by slowly. Time has stretched so that I forget what the boys’ giggles sound like. I forget what fun bathtime is and I forget what it’s like to spend the day together just being a family. So I concede. Maybe taking a room, so that my boys (and the Hub, of course) can come and visit me is the answer to the loneliness, the isolation that has become my life.

 They arrive at the RM House on Friday night. They are all loud. Talking, giggling, laughing, hugging, telling me a million things all at once.  For them this is an adventure, an overnight away from home, a break from their loneliness and isolation as well. 

We spend the weekend eating meals, watching tv, making crafts. Playing games and reading books. Normal, everyday things that we haven’t been able to do during this time apart.

We played at the playground, we went to the Zoo. (The Cincinnati Zoo is within walking distance of the hospital.) We made new friends. We interacted with each other and enjoyed our time together.

Capt Snuggles is slowly getting better, although I doubt we’ll be home any time soon. Three months will turn to 4, I have no doubt. RMHC let’s us have this home away from home for as long as we need it.

 The House here in Cincy is the 3rd largest RM House in world. In the world! Can you imagine?  Does that give you an idea of the impact this home away from home has for so many families? I know, I’m sounding a bit like a PSA. Let me adjust my soapbox…..

 Everyone has a favorite charity and I’m not a pushy person (much…), but it does so happen that McD’s is having a fundraising campaign right now, both online and in the the stores. You’ve seen the $1.00 “Give A Hand” paper hands,  and if you bought one, thank you. Your contribution  goes to RM Houses like this one, to  help those families that are caring for a sick child.

I did my part. I entered the online portion of the Give A Hand promotion. For 11 days you can enter a photo your hand with a message in support of RMHC. See. That really is my hand!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I just wanted, you know, to spread a little love to the people at Ronald McDonald House Charities. Just my way of saying  “Thank you!” for their dedication.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “The Red Lanyard

  1. When my daughter was in hospital I could of used the house. At that time it was only open to families with Cancer patients.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. mooney=mc2

    We stay at a place called Believe in Tomorrow-Children’s House when we are in-house with Corrigan. Though it is not as well-known as RMH it is so well-staffed and filled each day with volunteers all over the community, it truly is a blessing in times of need.

    I am so happy that you moved over to a room at RMH. I remember refusing to sleep anywhere other than next to Corrigan too but you have been there sooooo much longer than most and you really need to be able to have that walk to someplace that you can call “home” and have a place to be alone with your thoughts, take a long hot shower and cry, stretch out…feel like a human being again.

    The people that run places like Ronald McDonald House are angels on Earth and people that donate to those places are amazing as well.

    Thinking of you,

    • I’m so glad you stopped by! It is very hard to not be by David all the time. I suppose the up side of the length of our stay is that the nurses all know us by now and I feel a bit more comfortable letting them care for him while I’m not there.

      Take care~

  3. Hi Amy,
    Wow – this is so beautiful.
    I work for RMHC and noticed your story on our website – – thank you for sharing with us! If you don’t mind, I’m going to post it on our facebook page as well so others can see your testament. I love how you said that your red lanyard was like your key into a secret society – what we hope is that it is a secret society of hope, comfort, support and compassion.
    Wishing you and your family all the best during the holiday season.
    Kind Regards,
    Lauren Fischer

  4. Your posts always, ALWAYS bring a tear to my eye, but they do something else, too: make me appreciate what I have. I’m on my way to McD’s right now! 😉

    Visiting from sharing is caring…thanks for sharing:)

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