Fundraiser to benefit a home away from home

Chelsea and Curtis Letcavage with their child, River. The family has utilized the Ronald McDonald House of Danville as River has been hospitalized at the Geisinger Medical Center.

DANVILLE — Two families with children hospitalized at the Geisinger Medical Center have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Danville since the beginning of 2020.

“Their lives have been turned upside down,” Ginnetta Reed, director of marketing and events for the house, said. “We provide the comfort and the support and the love that the families need. Our staff are there for an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and to really help them get through this difficult time.”

Families who stay at the house are grateful for a place to call home while away from home.

“I had a family say to me one time ‘you’ll never truly know and understand the impact you made on my family,’” Reed said. “Knowing that we are able to make a difference and help a family means a lot to us.”

She noted that the longest one family has had to stay at the house in Danville is 11 1/2 months.

The Ronald McDonald House of Danville relies on donations in order to provide families with a place to stay while their children are hospitalized. Like many organizations, the home has seen donations drop since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

“We’ve had a large loss of revenue due to COVID-19,” Reed said. “Just because we’re faced with the COVID pandemic doesn’t mean the children stop being sick and that families stop needing our support.”

In recognition of September being Cancer Awareness Month — and many of the families staying at the house having children fighting cancer — the Ronald McDonald House of Danville Double Your Impact Campaign has been launched.

Any donation made to the house through September 30 will be matched, thanks to $22,750 in contributions pledged to the house by several area businesses. Those pledging the funds include Geisinger, Weis Markets, Pennsylvania Skill, MedImpact, Jersey Shore State Bank, The Williams Foundation, Ciocca Dealership, Stone State Entertainment and Brandlive.

Reed said all funds received will be used for the general upkeep and expenses of the home.

“When a family comes to the house, a lot of times they don’t know how long their child is going to need medical treatment,” Reed said. “The financial impact of having to have out-of-pocket expenses for local hotel costs and meals, the house eliminates those expenses and allows the family to fully focus on what’s most important, and that’s their child’s health.”

According to Reed, the house has 19 rooms and can accommodate up to 64 guests at one time. In 2019, the house had an 88% average capacity rate.

“In 2019, we had 13,000 guests stay with us,” Reed said. “We serve families from across Pennsylvania, the United States and abroad.”

She noted that all funds donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Danville are utilized locally by the house.

To donate, visit www.rmhdanville.org/donations or mail a donation to Ronald McDonald House of Danville, P.O. Box 300, Danville, PA 17821.

Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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