Community | Summer2019

Ronald McDonald House Akron provides families with a home away from home

In 2016, Liam Fiocca was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, with the only cure a bone-marrow transplant. With his sister Talia a perfect match, Liam received a bone marrow transplant in November. After nearly 6 months in the hospital, plus another 100 days post-transplant at the Ronald McDonald House, Liam was able to go home in March 2017. His health has continued to improve, and he enjoys activities like any active 8-year old, playing baseball, 4-wheeling, and racing remote-controlled cars.
(Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Akron)

Ronald McDonald House Akron has been helping families for decades, residing quietly across the street from Akron Children’s Hospital since 1985. And that, says Ronald McDonald House Akron, Director of Programs and Services, Meri Skiera, is a bit of a problem.

 

“Awareness in our community, locally and regionally, of what it is we do and how long of a history we have doing it is not well known because we weren’t out tooting our horns; we were just here taking care of our families and running the house,” says Skiera.

 

That is changing, and awareness is increasing of Ronald McDonald House Akron, which provides a home for families with children receiving medical treatment in the Akron area. That home away from home offers families a place to sleep, shower, eat, and collect and prepare themselves for the illness their child is facing, which can often mean long-term treatment.

Scaling to need

The need for the nonprofit’s service is increasing as Akron Children’s Hospital has gone through significant growth and is drawing families from far and wide. In addition, more people are receiving outpatient care, says Skiera, making housing near hospital facilities valuable; the average stay for families is about seven days for short-term needs and three to six months for long-term care.

 

As a result, says Skiera, Ronald McDonald House Akron has expanded from its original 20 rooms to 42, all of which are available for as little as $20 per night. However, guests unable to pay stay at no cost, thanks to community and corporate donations.

Increasing awareness

Among those corporate citizens supporting Ronald McDonald House Akron is Huntington.

 

“Huntington has been, for the last several years, one of our largest annual donors year-over-year,” says Director of Development Aristea Tzouloufis.

 

She says that in addition to its support for the care of families, Huntington’s involvement in increasing awareness of the nonprofit has been invaluable.

 

“Huntington’s reputation in the community, in terms of how they conduct business and their generosity, has helped us attract other donors, because they see we have a such a strong relationship with Huntington,” Tzouloufis says.

About the organization

Name: Ronald McDonald House Akron
Website: rmhakron.org
City: Akron
Phone: (330) 253-5400
Mission: Ronald McDonald House Akron commits to enriching lives through comfort, care and supportive services for families with loved ones being treated by Akron Children's Hospital and local medical facilities.

How you can help

Visit rmhakron.org/how-you-can-help.