We love feeding the inpatient cancer families at CHOP and wanted you to understand why it matters so much; you see we lived at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC for eight months. Peter was losing weight and his medical team had threatened us with a feeding tube. We were exhausted, broke and completely displaced. Oh, but no matter what was thrown at us we were determined to give all we had to Peter. The need to help him gain weight now meant that our dinner budget would take a hit each night so we could buy him Haagen-Das ice cream. Each evening Dennis and I would share a chicken potpie from KFC so that we could use the rest of the money to buy Peter some calories. Peter would get his bottle and baby food while Dennis ate half of the pie and I’d eat the other half while Dennis feed Peter ice cream.
It was hard to have enough energy to meet his needs and to be sharp enough to keep up with my new oncology education. Each day I’d wait for the meals to be served at the hospital. We know that it’s very expensive to eat in the city then add the medical bills, and the household bills and the lost time from work. Parents of cancer kids need rest and nourishment to continue to meet the needs of their very sick children.
So we decided to start feeding these families when their kids are admitted to the hospital. We can’t fix the fatigue but we can feed the body, no cost to them, no need to leave that hospital floor and walk away from their child. It’s the best we can give them and we’ve never even met them. We don’t ever have to learn their names we know we’ve improved their lives.
Tomorrow Peter and I will make another trip down the Schuylkill Expressway; we’ll stop at Chick-Fil-A in Lansdale and pick-up a wonderful hot meal complete with chicken, cookies, fruit and salad. Sometimes they even throw in stuffed cows for the kids. I love to go there, they give to these families from a place in their heart that is so genuine. I love to share the thanks we receive at the ER when the Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer meets us. Last week a little boy from London was so excited that Chick-Fil-A was being delivered he couldn’t wait. One day when we were driving home, stuck in traffic, and running late because of it, the phone rang and a volunteer shared that a mother wept because her daughter had not eaten in more than two days and she wanted her mom’s lunch.
Tonight we’re grateful that Rita’s in Harleysville is providing gallons of water ice for our delivery. Lucy, at Rita’s, probably doesn’t even know that chemo can cause mucositis and that those mouth sores can keep a child from swallowing their own saliva, and nothing feels better than cold on those sores, but she has a big heart and knows kids like water ice so she’ll be opening early for us. I can’t wait to hear about the blessing that tomorrow’s trip will be to some parent or child because each delivery is a blessing. We’re excited and honored to ease the burden of the next families. We also provide catered breakfasts that are delivered to the ER. To date we’ve feed nearly one thousand families.
Thank you for every penny you have ever trusted us with, we taken our mission “to improve the lives of kids with cancer” very seriously.