On July 22, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Houston celebrated the first anniversary of the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital with a party for patients, their families, staff and volunteers.
Since RMH Houston has a Family Room facility at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, permission was granted for the first time to have Mogie, the House’s labradoodle, attend the party which brought incredible joy and excitement to everyone there. Additionally, award-winning children’s author Kathi Appelt read her new book “Mogie: The Heart of the House” to all who attended the celebration. After the reading, each child received a copy of the book autographed by the author and paw-tographed by Mogie, played and took pictures with Mogie, and everyone was treated to ice cream and cake.
“Our partnership with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital is invaluable to our staff and the families we serve at Ronald McDonald House Houston, and we were honored to introduce Mogie to the children, teens and staff at the hospital,” said Leslie Bourne, RMH Houston Executive Director. “Our mission is to create a home away from home for families with critically ill children so having a presence at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital is very significant to us.”
Mogie lives down the street at RMH Houston’s 50-bedroom Holcombe House where he serves as the Key Comfort Ambassador. Having a dog at the House creates a sense of normalcy and a comforting environment for the families and children who stay an average of 43 nights at the Holcombe House.
The RMH Houston partnership with MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital started with a small Cookie Corner and expanded in 2013 to a Family Room including two bedrooms, two waiting rooms and a kitchen and dining area for the families of children being treated at the hospital. Family Rooms serve as a comforting place to relax complete with a welcoming volunteer, snacks, chocolate chip cookies and other families with whom to share their experiences.
In 2013, RMH Houston’s Family Room at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital and four additional Family Rooms at Texas Children’s Hospital touched the lives of over 28,760 families. The organization relies on the help of dedicated volunteers to maintain a warm and welcoming environment at its Family Rooms.
— Danielle Dunn,
Ronald McDonald House Houston