Ronald McDonald House Charities Central Valley will host the 10th annual Red Heart Ball on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
For the first time, the event is sold out with a maximum of 540 guests.
“The purpose of the event is to celebrate the mission of Ronald McDonald House and to raise money,” said Marisa Wheelock, director of development and communications. “One-hundred percent of the proceeds stay local for our Ronald McDonald House here in the Central Valley.”
When a child is facing a serious medical crisis, RMHC, also referred to as “The House That Love Built,” provides a place for families to stay so they can remain close to their hospitalized child at little to no cost.
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Wheelock said the house provides “all the comforts from home” including furnished bedrooms, meals and toiletries. Further services provided include a laundry room, a kitchen and dining area, a playroom for siblings, a computer labratory and an outdoor dining and play area.
Valley Children’s Hospital has had a longstanding partnership with Ronald McDonald House, dating back to when the children’s hospital was located in Fresno.
When the children’s hospital moved to Madera, RMHC followed. On Feb. 14, 2001, RMHC opened an 18-bedroom facility next door.
Wheelock said the event is a black-tie gala with guests enjoying a formal dinner, live and silent auctions and a performance by The Valley Cats Band.
To go along with the theme, “A Diamond Affair,” a partnership with Rogers Jewelry Co. has been made for a lucky winner to recieve a one-carat diamond valued at $7,000.
For 2017, the Gomez family — Dominic, Tiffany, Charlie Rae and Memphis Gomez from Dos Palos — are being featured at the event. A video production company was hired to film their story to be shown during the event.
In 2016, Memphis inhaled amniotic fluid, developing “wet lung” while his mom, Tiffany, delivered him via caesarean section. The Gomez family stayed with Memphis at RMHC for 49 nights as he recovered.
Without RMHC, Tiffany doesn’t know where her husband and their daughter would have stayed. She described the atmosphere of RMHC as welcoming: “It wasn’t like staying at an organization or hotel. It was like staying at a family member’s house or your aunt’s house.”
The founders of RMHC, Fred and Fran Hill, will share the story of how they came up with the idea to create the house. Steve Ramirez, president of the RMHC Board of Trustees, will also be in attendance.
Wheelock extends her gratitude to the gracious donors and sponsors — like McDonald’s, Cargill, D&L Floral and VF Outdoor — of the event.
Although the event is sold out for 2017, Wheelock said there are plenty of ways to get involved with RMHC. Donations of silent auction items to help raise money are being accepted, as are monetary donations.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
For inquires on donations, please call Marisa Wheelock at (559) 447-6793