WUES students show support for cancer victim by donating pull tabs to Ronald McDonald House –
By Patricia Beech –
Four-year-old cancer survivor Keller Beech-Wilson and his twin sister Gemma recently made a special delivery to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Cincinnati – 212 pounds of pull-tabs collected by West Union Elementary students.
Keller was diagnosed with A.L.L. – a type of childhood leukemia in January 2016. During his year-long battle with the disease he and his family were housed at RMH while he underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Keller’s mother Jennifer Beech says that despite the traumatic nature of his treatments, her son is very nostalgic about the “house” where they lived the better part of a year.
“He was very excited to go back and visit Ronald McDonald House,” said Beech. “It’s a magical place with a game room, a play ground, guest speakers from the zoo, and shows featuring clowns and magicians. He was very comfortable and happy there and it was a place where we could all stay together.”
The Ronald McDonald House is renowned for providing and maintaining a sense of normalcy for families at times of great physical and emotional stress. For Keller, who is now in full remission, it was a home away from home – a place where he could be a normal boy spending time with his family.
“I liked my room the best,” he says. “Cause it had an extra bedroom so Gemma and Daddy had a place to sleep.”
The pull tab program raises over $20,000 every year to help provide a “home away from home” for critically ill children and their families. Pull tab donations may be dropped off at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House or donors may also take tabs, whole cans, other metals, or used electronics to participating Cohen Recycling Centers. Proceeds are forwarded to the RMH.
“We’re so thankful to West Union Elementary for all their support and help collecting tabs for Ronald McDonald House,” Beech said. “We’re thankful to everyone in the community who has helped us and showed support for us and other local families in need.”
The Ronald McDonald House provides 78 full-size bedrooms and serves approximately 2,000 families a year, with each patient staying an average of 40 days. Serving 46 states and 23 countries, the average cost to house a family is $104 a day.
The facility dosn’t receive any city, state, or federal grant funding and is not a United Way agency – 90% of Ronald McDonald House revenue is supplied by donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations; 6 % is raised through McDonald’s franchises, and 4% is provided by Children’s Hospital.