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Staff from Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center prepare meal at Ronald McDonald House

August 30, 2011
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Special to The Breeze

On Friday, Aug, 19, The Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Cape Coral travelled to the Ronald McDonald House at 16100 Roserush Court in South Fort Myers to serve a meal to the 14 people staying there.

Article Photos

Photos provided

Marie Hagewood and Mindy Valentine toss up a tasty salad at the Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald House is a "home away from home" for families with children undergoing medical treatment at the nearby children's hospital. It houses the families of critically ill children who are staying in the hospital. Teresa Riska-Hall, the volunteer coordinator said, "When you are drained physically and mentally, you appreciate coming back here to the house and having a warm meal."

Shavon Chester from the Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Cape Coral said, "At Cape Rehab, we pride ourselves on giving back to the community, any opportunity we can take to make a difference we appreciate and the Ronald McDonald House gives us that chance."

The house has six "family style" rooms and can hold up to 24 people, or six families of four.

"Right now things are a little calmer. The families come and go, last month we were kind of slow, but now we are busy again. That's how we like it. We don't like to get too bored!" said Karen Marshall, the house manager.

"This isn't the first time we've been here and it won't be the last." said Marie Hagewood, a nurse from the Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Cape Coral. "We come during the summer a lot, and last year we sent our Cape Rehab Fishing Team and they loved it!"

Laura Ragain, who has been the executive director of the Ronald McDonald House for more than a year, is grateful to the community for its continued support of the charity.

"It goes beyond just this house, the money that we receive from Ronald McDonalds global charity, combined with the donations we receive from the local McDonalds, are used to do so much in Lee, Charlotte, Collier and Glades County," she said. "We were able to grant 13 scholarships to high school seniors. The money also goes toward a Mobile Health Unit that serves Lee and Collier County. In Lee County it does autism screenings once a month at the Children's Hospital, and in Collier County it serves as a mobile dental unit. Children who might otherwise not receive these medical services, receive them for free. All because of the funding that we receive."

Mindy Valentine, who works at Winkler Court, a skilled nursing facility in Fort Myers, was on hand to help Cape Rehab with the cooking duties. She didn't know that the Ronald McDonald House was here and said she will be back to help in the future.

"We'd like to challenge other companies to come and make a meal for the house, if everyone pitched in that would be great!" said Chester.

The average length of stay for a family is 12 days, and the house is completely dependent upon donations from the community. To find out ways to help, or to donate, call the house at (239) 437-0202 or visit them online at



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