Keeping Tabs on the Ronald McDonald House

1 decade 2 years 8 months ago Monday, November 05 2007 Nov 5, 2007 Monday, November 05, 2007 5:58:44 PM CST November 05, 2007 in News

The Ronald McDonald house in Columbia is starting a fundraising campaign to build a new facility. So a resident at the Loch Haven Nursing Home in Macon has started a push to pull for the Ronald McDonald House.

Patty Coleman of Macon has a collection of medicine cups. They don't hold pills, but what's inside can still help sick children.

"In her younger days, she would just kind of slur her words," explained Bonnie Chadwell, Patty's sister.

Patty has Cerebral Palsy, uses a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home. She's not able to walk and talking is difficult.

"Yeah, she loves the kids," said Chadwell. Patty also loves to collect the tabs from aluminum cans. She has the use of only one of her hands. So she developed a system to sort and count each tab individually. Over the last year, one by one, cup by cup, bag by bag, she's counted 138,650 pull tabs.

"Can you imagine doing this? Just sitting there doing 10 at a time in a little cup and transferring. And you just think how many times she's filled those little cups to get 138,650 of them," said Chadwell.

"We got more than 100 thousand of them, and we got money back from recycling those. It's fantastic."

Patty's donating her tab collection to the Ronald McDonald House.

"We have 14 bedrooms, and this is a place for families to stay while their children are receiving treatment at the local hospitals, any of the local hospitals or health care facilities. If the family needs a place to stay, we're here," explained Ronald McDonald House Director of Communications Shannon de Leon.

There's a reason why Patty chose the Ronald McDonald house. She knows what it's like to be a sick child. Years ago, doctors told her parents she wouldn't live past the age of 20. Patty is now 66.

"She knows what it's like to be in the hospital with no one being there," explained Bonnie Chadwell. "We didn't have the money for mom to stay. And you couldn't go stay for 12, 24 hours a day. She can't go and give them a thousand dollars. She can't come down here and give a thousand dollars, but she can count these and contribute. That's her contribution. Money don't count. It's the thought that counts."

Perhaps Patty's medicine cups held a prescription after all. In a world where people can feel too busy or too poor to give to charity, Patty still manages to grasp what's really important. With one hand, she's provided 138,650 reasons to help.

Patty got all those tabs from her family and friends at the nursing home. In the last month, Patty's already collected an additional 19 thousand tabs which brings her total now to 157,650.

You can drop off your tab collection at the Columbia Ronald McDonald House which is located one block from University Hospital at the intersection of Stadium and Monk Drive. The house gets almost a dollar  per pound for the recycled aluminum.  For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities, check out www.rmhccolumbia.org .

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