GRANTEE HIGHLIGHT

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Of Southern California

Ten-year old Cole Massie, the “Honorary Mayor of Atwater Village,” is outgoing and inquisitive with a magnetic personality that draws people to him. In spite of facing a multiple health challenges, he and his parents, Michelle and Nick, are positive and optimistic about what the future holds for Cole. And they are grateful for the services provided to them by Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Southern California (RMHCSC). So grateful, in fact, that all of them participate in fundraising for the Charities and volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena.

Cole was born seven weeks premature with spastic cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Three years ago, he experienced a few seizure-like episodes and was referred to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena for three days of intensive medical tests. While one parent stayed with him in the hospital, the other napped at the Ronald McDonald House across the street. It was a stressful time for the family, and Michelle gives credit to the Ronald McDonald House with providing them with the strength to get through a difficult time.

With a grant from UniHealth Foundation, RMHCSC is collaborating with seven regional pediatric hospitals in the greater Los Angeles area to develop practical tools to improve and adapt the programs it offers through its four houses located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Loma Linda and Orange County and its Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in the San Jacinto Mountains. The project is measuring community impact and documenting the psychosocial, economic and clinical significance of its programs. The project’s four goals are to keep families together and enhance their coping skills, ensure access to top quality care, enhance family-centered healthcare and manage resources to maximize impact.

This UniHealth Foundation-funded project is the first comprehensive impact assessment of the Charities’ programs. It will potentially impact the 276 Ronald McDonald House programs in 30 countries and responds to requests for the Charities to expand and explore new ways to increase use of existing facilities. Preliminary results show that hospital partners report that parents staying at the houses and camp are better able to communicate with their child’s medical team. Many physicians believe that enhanced communication directly impacts the medical staff’s ability to provide care and improves adherence to complicated treatment plans.