Five generations of my family took a walk led by my mother, Rose, who celebrated her 100th birthday in September. This wasn’t just any walk; it was the Running for Hope 5K Run/Fun Walk to raise money to support RMHC of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana. Surrounded by one of her daughters, two granddaughters, six great granddaughters, and four great-great grandchildren, Rose led us on a walk that means even more to the families served by RMHC.

For my mother, giving back to the community is central to our family traditions and celebrations. She was raised during the depression and remembers her own mother giving to people begging for food, saying "There's more for us, but they have nothing."

That tradition of giving back was passed down through the generations. As a home healthcare nurse, I see the stress facing families with sick children. For some of my patients, staying at the Ronald McDonald House made all the difference. With time away from work and medical expenses, they were lucky to be able to pay their mortgages. Paying for a hotel during their child's hospitalization would have been impossible. Thanks to RMHC, they didn't have to. One mom even told me how relieved she was to know there was a home-cooked meal waiting for them at the House. It meant she didn't have to search her car for spare change to buy dinner that night.

Being together and close to the hospital is so important to these families. One mom shared her appreciation for the nurses who knew she was staying at the House. They would send her back to the House to sleep, promising to call the second her child's doctor stepped off the elevator. She could get rest and still return at a moment's notice to be there while the doctors examined her child. RMHC truly relieves stress for families who are already emotionally and physically exhausted, helping them cope during their child's illness.

For these reasons and many more, 14 of our family members followed my mother’s lead in the Walk for Hope. We are proud of our family’s legacy of giving back and look forward to “Running with Rose” next year, when we will introduce my mother’s two newest great-great grandchildren to our family's tradition of support for RMHC!

Thank you!

Cheryl Stoneburner

Rose Torphy and her pregnant granddaughters