By Karen Edwards, RCS Editor.
When Charles and Dawn Antis were expecting twins, they were very happy - everyone was healthy, and the pregnancy was progressing on track. Until it wasn’t. Dawn developed preeclampsia and within 24 hours, the babies were being delivered via C-section and whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.
“There was a cloud over us,” explained Charles. “We went from having this really happy time to this extremely worried time with our kids living in what feels like a triage with bells and whistles going off. Our lives were horrible. We couldn’t eat or sleep, but yet, we needed to be by our kids.”
It was critically important that Charles and Dawn spend skin-on-skin time with their babies because it provides powerful benefits to both parents and babies. They were spending their days driving 45-minutes to the hospital to spend two hours in skin-on-skin time, then driving 45 minutes home, waiting two hours and driving back to do it again.
Staff and volunteers from the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Orange County reached out to Charles and Dawn but he said they didn’t want to talk to anyone there. “We didn’t want to talk to them because we were now in in this little exclusive club that we didn't want to be in. We were parents worried if our kids were going to be there the next day,” he explained.
Charles said that one day, after all those days of the team reaching out to offer help, it finally clicked, and he understood exactly why RMHC was there. “I was coming in for my skin time with Charlie and I was really hungry, so I walked by the bar and no one was there. I remember thinking to myself, ‘If only I had a granola bar.’” They did have a granola bar, which Charles ate, and it made all the difference. “That was the moment that I got it, that I understood what RMHC is here for.”
Since then, Charles has said yes to everything RMHC has asked of his company – even donating a roof for the facility. By adopting a room, Charles said he is not only donating in his name, but in the name of the Alliance for Progress and the National Roofing Contractors Association.
In April 2017 the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress announced a formal partnership to provide regular roof system inspections, repair and replacement for the Ronald McDonald House locations throughout the U.S. Nearly 100 houses have been adopted by contractors across the country so that families will remain safe and dry from now on.
Charles says that he loves the charity and is honored to have the opportunity to give back to them after they helped his family. He also had the opportunity to be thanked by the founders of the charity, Fred and Fran Hill and learn why they started it.
Fred shared his story with Charles in a video that was made to commemorate the donations and thank the Antis family. His story is similar to that of the Antis family. He was living in Philadelphia and playing football for the Eagles when his three-year-old daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. At the time, there were no Ronald McDonald Houses and Hill had to rely on the support of his teammates, general manager and team owner for support.
After Kim’s successful treatment, the Eagles founded a charity to raise money to fight leukemia and opened the first house in Philadelphia. A partnership with McDonald’s to donate money from sales led to the charity being named for after them.
Fred said he just returned from the worldwide McDonald’s meeting where he learned that there are now 365 Ronald McDonald Houses in more than 50 countries around the world! “Why did it expand like that? It's because they're needed, but it's expensive, and you have to constantly raise money,” Fred explained. “At this little family room here, if I'm right, we have one paid employee and 25 volunteers. At the Orange house, we have over 800 volunteers. You couldn't run it without the volunteers and fundraisers.”
Charles is thankful for RMHC and says they have made such a difference in his family’s lives that he is honored to be able to give back. He’s a strong advocate of supporting good causes in the local community and has extended an offer to any member of the RoofersCoffeeShop.com community to reach out to him if they are interested in getting involved with their local RMHC or other worthy cause. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
PHOTO: Left to right: Susan DeGrassi (Antis Director of Cause), Gwen Anderson (Executive Director of Mission Hospital Foundation), Fred Hill and Fran Hill (Founders of Ronald McDonald House Charities), Joni Allen-Ooms (Family Room Manager), Charles Antis, Gracie Antis, Charlie Antis, Dawn Antis, Aaron Antis (Antis Director of Sales), Susan Kenny (Development Director of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House), Thomas Capizzi (VP of Human Resources at CHOC Children’s Hospital), and Noel Burcelis (Executive Director of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House).
Do you know of someone in the industry who is ‘doing good deeds’ in their community? Help us catch them at it. Send news and information to firstname.lastname@example.org