This week, the first Ronald McDonald Family Room in Central Ohio opened at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The project, funded in part by the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation with support of the Lady Jackets, will provide a place of comfort and necessary amenities for families with children being cared for at the hospital.
Debbie Clark, wife of Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark, was in attendance at the unveiling. Debbie has been a big part of the Jackets' contribution to the project, and she has plans to continue volunteering there.
She intimately understands the need for a space like the Ronald McDonald Family Room.
"My first born spent too much time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, (NICU)," Debbie said. "If we had a space where we could go just to get away and decompress a little bit, it would have been amazing. I am so thankful to be a part of this and offer that support and respite to families that are going through such a tough time."
According to Brian Jepson, Riverside's president, the family room hopes to serve over 800 families in the coming year, particularly the families of children in the NICU, who often have an average hospital stay of 19 days. The room includes a kitchen and dining area, a work space with complimentary Wi-Fi, sections for families to gather and children to play, and complimentary laundry and shower services.