Stanford's Ronald McDonald house to host fundraiser

Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is planning to dramatically expand its ability to care for families with children being treated for life threatening illnesses.
March 17, 2014 9:58:02 PM PDT
Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is planning to dramatically expand its ability to care for families with children being treated for life threatening illnesses. And, it needs help.

"I have a big scar here and right here," said Shon Clayton.

Clayton isn't self-conscious about his scars or his nasal feeding tube. He's staying with his mom, Barbara, at Ronald McDonald House Stanford. He's recovering from his latest surgery, for one of many health issues.

The house is full. Forty-seven families are living there, right now, because their critically ill children are being treated at nearby Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Shon's complicated medical conditions affected everything in his life.

"When we adopted Shon, we were told he had a small heart condition, or a heart condition and his stomach was on the wrong side. He had no spleen. We since learned that his heart condition, on a scale of one to 10, he was a 10 plus," said Shon's mother Barbara Clayton.

Shon is 16 years old and has been in and out of hospitals for years, with stays that have lasted for weeks. Barbara slept in a chair by his bed. They're so grateful Ronald McDonald House had a real bed once Shon was strong enough to leave Lucile Packard Hospital.

"The first night I said to Shon, 'is this the most comfortable bed in the world, or is it from sleeping in a blue chair for so long?" said Clayton.

They miss their family, in Paso Robles.

"We have two other adopted children that are at home. Dad was home with them," said Clayton.

At the Ronald McDonald House, Shon can get visits from his family. And he can dance to his favorite music. But, in spite of the smiles, things are not easy.

"Last night I told my mom that my life was filled with twists and turns but I go through it like a puzzle," said Shon.

At least, Shon and his mom feel like they have a home.

"The compelling thing about walking into this house is anyone of those families could be you. So, we have just seen the waiting list explode in the last couple of years to the point that we're turning away 40-50 families every night," said Ronald McDonald House Chief Operating Officer Laura Boudreau.

Boudreau says that's why the house is working hard to more than double its capacity as fast as it can, with Stanford's help.

"It all, kind of, came to fruition when Stanford gave us the land right next door to where we're located. So, that created the opportunity for us to really pursue this and to expand to a degree that we're going to be, at least, 120 bedrooms, for 120 families every night," said Annette Ross with Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

Shon may return to the house after a heart transplant in the near future. He and his mom took a class about what's involved with a transplant. It was scary for her, but not Shon. He's smart and brave.

"During the teaching, he looked at me and said, 'Don't cry. If you cry, I'll worry, if you don't cry, I won't worry,'" said Clayton.

The Ronald McDonald House has raised two-thirds of the $41 million they need. They need to get to 80 percent before they can break ground. The public can help.

The Ronald McDonald House will have an upcoming fundraiser on March 22, which will be held on the construction site. They're calling it a house party.

Ticket information: www.ronaldhouse.net


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