Ronald McDonald House celebrates 25 years - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ronald McDonald House celebrates 25 years

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Sara and Griffey play with toys at the Ronald McDonald House Sara and Griffey play with toys at the Ronald McDonald House
The family room The family room
The Martineaus play to pass the time The Martineaus play to pass the time
The Ronald McDonald House is located  next to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital The Ronald McDonald House is located next to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital

by Pam Warnke

MARSHFIELD (WAOW)-- It's December 2008.  Sara and Aaron Martineau are in their second week at the Ronald McDonald House.

They're son Griffey, 2, knows it's not home, but he's finding ways to stay occupied.

"He's got lots of toys in here that he knows to come and play with," said Aaron Martineau.

The Martineau's came to the House two weeks ago following the early arrival of their daughter Madeline.

She was born at 27 weeks, weighing 1 pound 14 ounces and needing the help of the staff at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital.

The House gives the Martineaus a way to stay near while their baby gets care.

Aaron said, "Everybody's been extremely, extremely nice, and it is truly a blessing to have the house here.  It's just one less thing to think about."

One less thing to think about during a very stressful time.  That's the service the house offers the Martineaus and so many other families.

"It's been a great blessing to usually 400-500 families a year," said Sandy Zygarlick of the Ronald McDonald House.

10 families can stay here a night.  It costs just 5 dollars, if they can afford it.  Each gets a room and a parking space.  They share the fully-stocked kitchen and dining area, a place to do laundry and a backyard.

Sandy said, "Once they're approved to stay here they can stay for 30 days at a time.  Then, we review that and sometimes add on to it."

Most of the families don't know how long they'll stay.  Baby Madeline wasn't due until March.

But like other families who've been in this place, the Martineaus are making the house their home away from home and learning the others families staying here are going through a similar thing.

"You feel sometimes you're alone, but you're never alone," said Sara Martineau.

Online Reporter: Pam Warnke

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