NewsPositively Colorado

Actions

Families facing health burdens cherish help from local volunteers

Posted at 6:15 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 20:15:13-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Taking care of a child with a chronic illness or serious injury is undoubtedly one of the hardest things a family can go through. For families who live far away from the best doctors, it's even tougher.

The Ronald McDonald House of Southern Colorado (RMHCSC) has a mission to keep families and their critically ill children close to each other while providing the care and resources they need.

The house runs seven days a week, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day free of charge. It’s the staff and volunteers who work countless hours to make it a home away from home for families going through some of the most intense moments of their lives.

“It is God’s work and I couldn’t be happier to help do it,” says volunteer Char Lucht. She and her husband began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Colorado Springs soon after it was complete in 2019, “We got to see it being built and we are joined at the hip, so we get to work here together," she explains.

After seeing her own grandchildren experiencing time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) she says, “Anything to ease the burden. The families have these tiny babies and they don’t know if they’re going to make it and you want to be here to help them so they can take care of those babies.”

For parents Wil and Sarah Bledsoe, the Ronald McDonald House is like a second home for them. The family lives on a ranch about two hours from Colorado Springs.

When Sarah gave birth to twin girls early at 29 weeks, they knew a long NICU stay was required for Hayley and Josie.

”The first night in the hospital, that was terrible. No one got any sleep it was very emotional to be there all night,” said Sarah.

The two immediately began searching for a long-term place to stay. Hotels were less than ideal and not as close to the girls as they were hoping. To their delight, one of the nurses at Children’s Hospital told them that the brand new Ronald McDonald House was near completion, next door.

"We came the day it opened and the first room we stayed in opened into the kids' room. We could literally see in there. The peace of mind that brought is priceless.”

The resources were endless for the new mom. From pumps and fridges on each floor to laundry rooms and left-overs boxed up to grab and take to the hospital. There are also guest rooms, kitchens, play areas, and teen hangouts. All free.

Volunteers keep the house clean, resources stocked and fresh meals cooked. The Bledsoe’s stayed 54 days and nights and say of the volunteers “They’re like family. The look in their eye like ‘we got you, let us take something off of your plate.’ They are praying for us and there for us when we need them.”

The Bledsoe family continues to return to the Ronald McDonald House as their daughters are undergoing therapy treatments. The family even added a brother to their crew, “and they all feel right at home here too,” added Wil, “What this holds in our heart is a huge spot and we will always be indebted for getting us through that time in our life cause it was intense.”

Learn more about how to get involved with the Ronald McDonald House of Southern Colorado as a volunteer or a donor.
_____

Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.