Chicago White Sox' Jerry Reinsdorf, pitchers Chris Sale, Gavin Floyd and Jess Crain "stepped up to the plate" for a rooftop dedication ceremony at the 15-story Ronald McDonald House at 211 E. Grand on June 11. The ceremony commemorated the White Sox commitment to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana with a significant financial donation and a small-scale replica of U.S. Cellular Field. The rooftop mini baseball diamond will provide much needed respite for families staying at the House, which opened exactly a year ago, in June 2012.
The “White Sox Family Field” served as the kick-off for an ongoing partnership between the Chicago White Sox and RMHC-CNI, which will include events like White Sox Day at RMH, RMH Day at U.S. Cellular Field, White Sox volunteer days at the House, and special player visits with the children and families at the House. “The White Sox clearly have a passion for helping children,” said RMHC-CNI CEO Doug Porter. “It’s exciting that the scope of their advocacy is now expanding to providing a ‘home away from home’ for the families of children receiving medical care, so that even more of those going through the most challenging times in their lives can stay together. The team’s phenomenal support will help families receiving care at Lurie Children’s and also create a dynamic feature at our world’s largest House, sure to be a hit with families.”
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said, "We can only imagine some of the problems that people here are going through. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. I'm proud that our players do so much more than play baseball. They visit hospitals and schools and do so much good in our communities." Pitcher Gavin Floyd said, "It's an honor and a blessing to be here. I know the enjoyment I get out of sports so we're happy to provide the families with some relief from their problems."
Former RMH family guest, little Augie Matthies hit the “first pitch” thrown by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd. Chris Sale served as catcher while Jess Crain did the commentary. These wonderful players tirelessly signed baseballs, stood for photos and enjoyed lunch with the families and children at the House. Floyd even gave one of the children the jersey off his back (literally). I was so impressed with their dedication. Other special guests included Howard Pizer (Senior Executive Vice President of the White Sox), Christine O’Reilly (Senior Director of Community Relations of the White Sox), Women's Board Members MaryAnne Smith, Lesley Prizant Goodman and Carol Beitler, and McDonald's owner/operator Ken Norgan (who works tirelessly on behalf of the charity).
Every night, 140 families find comfort, compassion and community at the four area Ronald McDonald Houses. That’s 40,000 nights each year where RMHC-CNI families are able to stay close to their child, saving them more than $7 million in hotel costs. The Houses are located near Advocate Children's Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Edward Hospital in Naperville.
Congrats to the White Sox for making a difference and lighting up the lives of these children!
(For more info, please visit www.RonaldHouseChicago.org)