When the free-standing 128-bed Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida opens in 2017, it will include a brand new, first-of-its-kind Ronald McDonald Family Room.
Overseen by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, it's a place for families to spend time while children are patients in the hospital.
They will be able to relax, grab a snack, or meet with other family members in the new 1,000 square-foot room on the second floor. It will be the first and only Ronald McDonald Family Room between Tampa Bay and Miami.
"We are so pleased to be able to expand our services beyond the walls of the Ronald McDonald House and create a similar atmosphere for families within the new Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida," said Executive Director Laura Ragain.
The organization currently hosts a number of programs: the Ronald McDonald House, a mobile medical and dental care unit in Collier County, grants to charities and non-profits, and scholarship programs for high school seniors.
The planned family room will be designed with overall comfort in mind, according to Ronald McDonald House Charities, with a wall of glass for natural light.
They want it to be very different from a typical hospital waiting room. It will feature seating for meals, built-in catering stations for hot and cold food, kitchen appliances, a touch screen Etch A Sketch, puzzle tables, and a flat screen television.
"Families will find the support and encouragement needed to better cope with the uncertainty that comes with the illness of a child," said Ragain.
Besides local fundraising with collection boxes posted at McDonald's restaurants in Southwest Florida, the organization also hosts regional events.
The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club will be hosting Robbie's Run on Jan. 18 to benefit the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. The nine-hole golf course fun walk and run is presented by Grampy's Charities, a volunteer organization helping sick children.
Robbie's Run will feature a "golf ball drop" by Ronald McDonald. Balls will be dropped from the sky and whichever ones are closest to the pin wins half of the donations. Tickets for the ball drop are $100 and can be purchased at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Myers. Furthest from the pin also wins a prize.
A special after party is also planned for participants who collect $500 or more in pledges and donations from the community.
For more information on Robbie's Run or the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, visit rmhcswfl.org.