In April of 2011 Seth Rawlings of Emporia, Virginia was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Seth had been diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring emergency surgery.
After driving more than two hours from home to hospital, Seth’s parents, Stephanie and Jeff, couldn’t bear the thought of moving more than footsteps from their youngest son. Following his surgery, Seth remained in the hospital for two weeks, during which his mother utilized services of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond (RMHC Richmond).
“RMHC Richmond gave me a little bit of normalcy during a terrifying ordeal. Just the thought of having somewhere to shower or take a quick nap brought a sense of comfort to me. They provide you with all that you need to survive an extra emotionally spent time in your life.” says Seth’s mom, Stephanie.
RMHC Richmond provides overnight accommodations, meals, and basic needs to families with sick or hospitalized children receiving medical care at Richmond area hospitals. By taking care of families like the Rawlings, RMHC Richmond ensures that families share more time together and lose less time traveling, worrying about daily chores like cooking and laundry, or increasing their financial burdens.
“Families can focus on what matters most: their child’s well being.” says RMHC Richmond Executive Director, Kerry Blumberg. “And children have access to what they need most during challenging times — the people they love.”
Today, Seth is a healthy, happy, and busy 16 year-old. He enjoys playing basketball, baseball, and football and going hunting.
Seven years since Seth’s hospital stay, the Rawlings family continues to show their gratitude for the care they received from RMHC Richmond. They’ve held fundraisers in their hometown of Emporia and enlisted neighbors to collect hundreds of thousands of pop tops which they’ve organized and delivered to RMHC Richmond.
RMHC Richmond receives about 55 cents per pound of pop tops through a pop tops recycling program organized in partnership with United Scrap Metal — money which goes directly toward operating costs for the Ronald McDonald House and in-hospital programs.
Since 2011, the Rawlings family has raised more than $10,000.00 to help families in situations just like theirs.
“We can’t thank our community enough for the continued outpour of generosity. This is a lifetime commitment on our part. We know the need doesn’t go away,” says Stephanie.
While he looks forward to what the future holds for him, Seth has made a commitment to always give back to RMHC Richmond, an organization that helped him and his family during his time of need.