Helping Hand: Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 1:01 PM CST
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Claire and Lola Hartley will forever be remembered in Kansas. Born with a rare condition, Microcephaly, Claire passed in December of 2018. Months later, Lola’s family said goodbye to her.

In Facebook post the family said Lola “fought with everything in her to stay. She quite literally is the strongest human being we have ever known.”

When families like the Hartley’s have to travel for top medical care, it can be expensive. This is where Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita comes in.

“Thank god that we’re here for all these families,” RMHC CEO Susan Smythe said. “We’re here and we’ve changed lives.”

Smythe started with RMHC Wichita as a board member 19 years ago. Now, she’s CEO of the non-profit. She’s seen hundreds of families come through their doors, looking for and appreciating their help.

"That’s why we’re here to help the families, while the medical staff helps the child,” she said.

For more than 35 years, the organization has kept families together during tough times, providing a home away from home at the Ronald McDonald House.

“We’ve served over fifty-five thousand families in that amount of time. From forty-five other states and fourteen countries and obviously every county in Kansas,” Smythe said.

Warm meals, a hot shower a place to play and friendly faces to come home to after a long day. For all they do, and have done for our community, KWCH Eyewitness News along with DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers decided to give them a Helping Hand.

“That’s a wonderful surprise. It’s going to make me tear up, it always surprises me about the generosity of people in Wichita and in Kansas. They take care of people that are less fortunate. This means a lot,” Smythe said.