SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s a traumatic experience for parents whose children are in the hospital with a serious illness or injury. Juggling their child’s needs with their own can be daunting. It’s when a home away from home can really come in handy.
There is such a home that’s been around for more than three decades in Lackawanna County. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller checked it out to see what it does and what it requires to continue being an asset to the community.
“I had six surgeries when I was born,” said 25-year-old Jaka Wescott.
Born with spina bifida, Wescott spent much of her early life in and out of hospitals near and far undergoing procedures to help her walk.
“We saw all the best specialists. Really, like it’s a thing families can’t afford to do and we could because we stayed at a Ronald (McDonald) House,” Wescott said.
Now, she pays it forward at the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton. She served as a volunteer for two years before being hired three years ago where she now serves as Development Director & Program Staff.
“It’s been huge to get to just meet families day in and day out,” Wescott said.
The spacious double block home on Wheeler Avenue can accommodate up to eight families needing overnight stays while their children receive treatment at various hospitals. There are also what’s called Family Rooms which Ronald McDonald House of Scranton provides at three medical facilities including Commonwealth Health Moses Taylor Hospital. Families have a home-like atmosphere to relax in the same hospital where their child is a patient.
“Some of those burdens are taken away from them. They don’t have to worry about where they’re going to eat next or how they’re going to get home or do their laundry or anything like that,” Ronald McDonald House of Scranton Family Room Coordinator Bridget Slagan said.
Providing these services requires funds. Only 10 percent of the budget comes from Ronald McDonald Charities. When asked if fundraisers are critical, Ronald McDonald House of Scranton Executive Director Richard Bradshaw said, “Without the help of our community we just couldn’t do this and our community has been very supportive.”
That support is needed now more than ever.
“In a house, you have wear and tear and a house like Ronald McDonald House you have a lot of wear and tear,” explained Mr. Bradshaw.
The signature house since 1986 is undergoing renovations to its family room bedrooms one at a time and expanding its kitchen size. With continued community support, Mr. Bradshaw vows to continue the mission of Ronald McDonald House of Scranton.
“If you need us, we’re there and we do beautiful work here,” Mr. Bradshaw said.
Ronald McDonald House of Scranton is sponsoring the Apple Orchard 5k fundraiser this Saturday, August 3, in Scott Township, Lackawanna County at Lakeland Orchard & Cidery formerly known as Roba Family Orchard. The 5k will be followed by a Ronald McDonald House of Scranton reunion.