The Times West Virginian

December 28, 2012

Candlelight Countdown to raise funds for expansion

By Mary Wade Burnside
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — This year area residents can attend a New Year’s celebration and help out a good cause.

The Candlelight Countdown will help raise money for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at WVU Children’s Hospital, a space that will complement the existing Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, said Steve De Jesus, the facility’s CEO and executive director.

Assessing the need for new space was not difficult, De Jesus said.

“The Ronald McDonald House is filled 99.7 percent of the year,” he said. “We’re only a 16-bedroom community.”

A full-on expansion at the house would have cost $7 million, which the Ronald McDonald House could not raise, De Jesus said.

Instead, a Ronald McDonald Family Room will be added that will offer family members of patients a kitchen with snacks, dining room, big-screen TV, a computer, shower facility and even a mother’s breast-feeding and pumping room.

“If we had more room, we’d put in two sleeping rooms, but the hospital did not have enough space for that,” De Jesus said.

Full story