Ronald McDonald House Charities Celebrate 30 Years in Southwest Virginia


It's a big year for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia. They are celebrating 30 years of providing  a "home away from home" for hundreds of families every year while their children get critical care at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. 

The Ronald McDonald House provides a free place to stay, meals and support. 

Volunteers have given about 180,000 hours over the past 30 years making a difference for families across the area. 

Jensen Cooper was born nine weeks early weighing a little more than four pounds. 

"I was just scared to death until I heard that first cry. I thought 'oh thank God. He's breathing, He's alive," said Jennifer Cooper who gave birth August 5th and has been spending time with the newborn at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital's NICU. 

"I can't imagine having a baby and not being able to be around them at all. It would have really broken my heart," said Cooper who lives in Galax almost two hours away. 

The Cooper's have been staying for free at the Ronald McDonald house just a short walk away from the hospital. 

"That has been such a blessing for our family because my husband and I do not have the means to try and come here and rent a hotel room," said Cooper. 

This year the Ronald McDonald House is celebrating 30 years of being here in southwest Virginia and over that time they've helped more than 25,000 families. 

"As best as we can as much as possible we provide as much security in the midst of all that confusion and in the midst of all that fear so that families can find a shelter in the storm," said Laney MoField, the RMHC executive director. "We wish we didn't have to be here. We wish the children weren't sick, weren't born too early, weren't diagnosed with terrible diseases or injured in a horrible accidents but we're so grateful that we could be here when those times come and when families are affected that we can provide that haven for them." 

MoField says as the medical community continues to grow they will see the need increase serving families like the Coopers. 

"I owe a lot of gratitude to them. That's the greatest thing I could've ever imagined," said Cooper. 

Tickets are still available for the RMHC 30th Birthday Bash on Friday, September 12 at 7 p.m. 

There is also a cupcake fundraiser Friday, August 22nd. Viva la Cupcakes will set up its new cupcake trailer outside the Ronald McDonald House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and donate a percentage of the proceeds. Member One Federal Credit Union is matching donations dollar for dollar up to $750. 

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