Bee A Hero: Volunteer shows compassion with Ronald McDonald House work
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Part of what makes the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester so special is its volunteers. News10NBC’s Emily Putnam sat down with a volunteer who has been part of the RMHCR team from the very beginning.
Carla LeVant is a social worker with Golisano Children’s Hospital, and a long-time volunteer with RMHCR. She’s often the person to deliver the news to families that they have a place to stay — free of charge — at the Ronald McDonald House.
"Lots of times, for the families that live at a distance, being able to avoid the commute home, to avoid gas expense, to be able to be here so that if the hospital calls you can run back across the street and be able to support your child… makes a world of difference," said LeVant. "Especially when I can say to a family… their first question to me is often ‘how much is it gonna cost me?’ and to be able to say ‘there’s no expense.’"
Medical emergencies and serious illnesses can come with a lot of unplanned costs, and hotel bills add more burden to an already financially stressful situation. For some families, not having that added expense means everything.
"There’s often tears," said LeVant. "I mean, they’re already struggling with one of the worst moments you could possibly imagine in your life."
Before the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, there weren’t many options for families travelling long distances for pediatric medical care in Rochester.
"There was no place for families to stay," said LeVant. "We had families that would often sleep in their cars because they wanted to be at least be close to the hospital."
The people that LeVant connects to the Ronald McDonald House find much more than a place to rest and do their laundry. They find a community full of people who get it, and who are always there for support.
"To meet families here, and understand that you’re not alone in that path, that other people are walking it the same as you are," said LeVant, "and sharing notes about how you were able to cope, and what works for them, and what might work for you, and comparing notes, and getting mutual support… it makes a world of difference for families when they realize they’re not alone."
When families are able to be together, find a community that’s going through something similar, and lean on each other for support, LeVant thinks it tends to shorten the length of stay at the hospital and at RMHCR.
The volunteers are real-life heroes to RMHCR families, on Friday Bee A Hero day is your opportunity to be a real-life hero to RMHCR.
-Call (585) 300-4282
-Text "RMHCR" to 366283
Watch News10NBC on Friday for live coverage of Bee A Hero day during News10NBCToday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.