Young Professional’s Family Story

The Surles Family Story

Chris and I found out in December 2012 we were having identical twins. It was a high risk pregnancy and I ended up delivering at 33 weeks with preeclampsia. I was offered the Ronald McDonald House across from GHS while the girls were in the NICU so I could continue to feed them. I was grateful for the offer but was able to make the 40 minute commute each day so I could keep my oldest on somewhat of a normal schedule. I truly thought the roughest part of our journey was going to be behind us after our NICU stay.

While the twins were in the NICU, genetics was called to look at Lane. Born at 4lbs 11oz, she presented with neonatal hypoglycemia, enlarged abdomen with an umbilical hernia and her tongue rested outside of her mouth. The NICU team called in Greenwood Genetics and at 2 days old we were told they were testing her for Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). BWS is an overgrowth syndrome that is normally sporadic (though it can be inherited) in 1 in 13,000 births. We were told Lane would grow quickly, including her organs and she would need to be monitored for cancerous tumors until she was 8 years old. Many children with BWS end up needing a tongue reduction as well.

After a tumor scare in February 2014, we decided with a team of doctors and therapists that Lane would need a tongue reduction to improve her feeding, obstructive sleep apnea and future jaw alignment. Local doctors had only performed 2 or 3 of these procedures and never at our local hospital. After much research, we found the world’s expert Dr. Jeffrey Marsh at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, MO. In April, we made the 13 hour drive with Lane for her to undergo the tedious surgery.

You never want to have to make this choice for your child. We did not want to leave her side and luckily the Ronald McDonald House made it possible for us to both we close at all times and had a room in the hospital with snacks, drinks, WIFI and places to rest. We slept in shifts at the RMH so one of us could always stay with her. The RMH was beautiful and we met another family on the same journey as us. We met many families at the RMH from every walk of life and with varying degrees of medical needs. It was truly a humbling experience.

Before the twins, I never could have dreamed of needing the Ronald McDonald House. We were a middle class family with steady dual incomes and company provided health insurance. When the girls were only 6 months old and two days after a mass was found on Lane’s kidney, we found out my company was discontinuing health insurance at the end of the month. Due to this and the ongoing medical needs, I left my job for our family business. Our financial future was now unpredictable. Having the RMH was certainly a relief for the financial reasons but the gift of the RMH is much greater than financial.

When your child needs major surgery or is very ill, your world seems to be in a tailspin. Ronald McDonald House is a gift that helps ground you. You see you are not alone in your child’s medical journey. You see your plight is recognized and an organization has been formed to support you. You have one less detail to take care of and you feel a sense of relief. Our stay at Ronald McDonald House was short but we were greeted warmly by staff, we were treated to home cooked meals and we had a home base while thousands of miles from home. We were truly grateful for the gift many times over.

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Volunteer Spotlight

Spring Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Ferguson

Meet Judy Ferguson, a wonderful Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer at Greenville Health System’s Children’s Hospital.  As a retired middle school teacher of 33 years, Judy has always enjoyed working with children so it was a perfect fit to volunteer for our charity.  It is a joy for Judy to continue assisting children and their families.  She has been volunteering with us for the past 3 years and adds the welcoming touch of warmth and friendliness that the Family Room needs when parents who have a child in the hospital take a much-needed break.

Judy and her husband, Jack, live in Clemson and have two amazing grown children.  Jeff is the Senior VP of Football Operations for the San Francisco 49ers and he and his wife, Rebecca, have three wonderful children which gives Judy and Jack a good excuse to visit.  Their daughter, Amy, is Development Director for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and resides in Miami, Florida.  There again another place to travel to, which they do often!

In her spare time, you can find Judy cheering year-round for the Clemson Tigers and of course for the San Francisco 49ers!  She is active in her church, and enjoys reading, playing bananagrams, traveling and spending time at Kiawah Island.  In addition, Judy finds time to volunteer at Edwards Middle School, Clemson Elementary School and Relay for Life.

We are so fortunate to have an energetic and dedicated volunteer helping us on a regular basis.  Thanks so much Judy, for all you do for us and the families we serve!

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August Volunteer Needs!

Volunteering at our House provides a unique opportunity to give back to the community in which we work and play. We have a plethora of opportunities throughout the year to get involved – however below are our immediate needs for the month of August. Click here for a full list of ways to get involved!

Dinner Program open dates in August: 13-14, 17 - 21, 27 & 31

After a long, and sometimes an emotional, day our families look forward to coming “home” to a hot meal. Each night we proudly provide this service to them. We rely on community groups and organizations to come to the House and either cater in a meal or prepare it on site. These volunteer groups supply the food for between 15 to 20 people, we supply the kitchen. Interested?  

House Volunteer need: Friday afternoons from 2pm-5:30pm

House volunteers are always needed to help with general office tasks, yard work, or general cleanup. Are weekdays your thing? We seek volunteers Monday – Friday between 8am to 5pm to assist with housekeeping and office work, or from 4pm to 7pm to assist our Night Manager with various household tasks. Weekend house volunteer opportunities range depending on your group size, time, time of the year, and interest. If you have an expertise in a particular area and would like to donate your services, please get in touch! We have special renovation projects that need attention from time to time.

Contact Kaitlin Murphy for more information: [email protected]

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Calling All Classic Car Lovers!

saffrons catering logoDo you love showing off your old-school ride? What if you could do this while also supporting our House? Come out to Saffron’s First Annual 2015 Cruise In Car Show and support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas on July 26th from 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. If you have a classic car that you want to show off, you don’t want to miss this event. Live entertainment, delicious food, and door prizes—will all be provided and they will be taking donations for our House.

So jump in your hot rod and burn up the road to 2728 Wade Hampton Blvd in Greenville, S.C. to join the good times! For more information, please call Jamie at 864-241-0401.

Special thank you to our friends at Saffron’s Catering! Be sure to check their Facebook page for more information and event updates.

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Attention All Minions Maniacs!!

Are you ready to see the Minions movie July 10th?

MINIONS-2015-Teaser-Poster-despicable-me-37102295-640-705If so, Ronald McDonald House of Charities of the Carolinas has got just the package for you! The House is auctioning off a Minions Movie Fan Package. This package includes all things Minion that any fanatic could ever ask for. The winner of this fan package will walk away decked out in Minion memorabilia from the new movie coming out Friday, July 10th. The package includes a t-shirt, beanie hat, water bottle, stuffed minion friend, PEZ candy dispenser, minion edition LIFE board game, children’s books about the adventures of our favorite minions, as well as a gift card to purchase two movie tickets.

You don’t want to miss the chance to receive this awesome prize, while also helping support families in need! In order to win, you simply need to purchase a raffle ticket for only $8.00. You can pay with cash, credit card or PayPal and all proceeds will go directly to the Ronald McDonald House and will pay for a family to stay at the House for one night. So why not increase your odds to be a winner and help your favorite charity?

Purchase your ticket from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas TODAY by using PayPal below, calling our front office at 864-235-0506 or emailing [email protected]. The winner will be announced Monday, July 6th!

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Enter to Win!

Feeling lucky?

Here is your chance to give back to your favorite charity and have the opportunity to win big! With each purchase of a $100 raffle ticket from us, you are entered to win a 2000 BMW Z3 M Roadster valued at $20,000. Second and third place prizes aren’t too shabby either! The second place winner will experience the celebrity playing action in the 2016 BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation, valued at $10,000 with the third place winner taking away a one year supply of Spinx gasoline, valued at $2,600.

Purchase your ticket from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas TODAY by calling our front office at 864-235-0506  or emailing [email protected].

Fast Facts:

Must be 18 years or older to enter. Federal and State taxes for all prizes are the responsibility of the prize winner. The drawling for prizes will take place June 30, 2015 at Spinx on The Parkway. Need not be present to win. The time of day will be announced via Facebook and Twitter and on

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National Super Hero Day

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas Partners with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for National Super Hero Day


WHAT: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Cruiser to Make Stop at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas to Celebrate National Superhero Day

WHERE: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas (Side Parking Lot)

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Monday, April 20, 2015

WHY: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas (RMHCC) will host the Krispy Kreme Cruiser on Monday, April 20th at its house for a celebration of everyday heroes, leading up to national Super Hero Day on April 28th. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts says everyone is a super hero in their own way and wants to give back to families and children battling illness. The cruiser is making stops at certain locations across the country. On Monday, the cruiser will be parked at RMHCC and will pass out free doughnuts and buttons to bring cheer to our families.

On April 28th, in honor of National Superhero Day, Krispy Kreme is inviting its fans to celebrate the Super Heroes in their life with an in-store Buy one Dozen, Get One Dozen offer. Visit for details.

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Board Of Directors Announcement

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas Appoints New Board President and Elects Three New Board Members


GREENVILLE, S.C.  (April 16, 2015) – Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas (RMHCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Mascari as board president and the election of three new members to the RMHCC Board of Directors. Thomas Mascari is Executive Vice President at ABB Baldor and will serve a two year term as board president. New board members include John Walker, Attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood, Larry Long, Retired Business Professional and Bob Kitterman, Operations Consultant with McDonald’s Corporation.

I am pleased to welcome John, Larry and Bob as new Board members and Tom as our new president,” said Marti Spencer, CEO/Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House. These individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our House as we further our mission of keeping families together while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital.”

The House’s Board of Directors is comprised of individuals from the medical, business, academic and volunteer communities of the Upstate. It is the Board’s responsibility to provide counsel and guidance in the direction and operation of the House as well as it is to raise awareness of the House’s services to the surrounding communities.


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Reedy River Jazz & Wine Festival

 Ronald McDonald House Presents its 6th Annual Reedy River Jazz and Wine Festival

Festival Fundraiser to Feature Local and Regional Talent


GREENVILLE, S.C.  (April 3, 2015) – Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas is pleased to announce its 6th Annual Reedy River Jazz and Wine Festival will be held on Friday, April 24th at the TD Amphitheater and Wyche Pavillion in downtown Greenville. The Reedy River Jazz and Wine Festival was created for guests to experience soulful jazz and taste exquisite wines, all while giving back to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville-allowing families to stay near their child being treated at a nearby hospital.

Gates to the festival open at 6:00 p.m. This year guests will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wide variety of wine, food and jazz performers. The wine and food tasting will be held in the Wyche Pavillion beginning at 6:30 p.m. Four wine distributors, Southern Wine & Spirits, Grassroots Wines, Curated Selections and Country Vintner, a will feature a variety of 20 different wines for tastings. Alongside the wine, Larkin’s on the River is providing a tapas dinner featuring their best southern fare. To finish off the tasting, Divine Desserts by Andrea will showcase a trio of her most popular cupcakes.

The lineup of musicians begins with the Anderson University Jazz Ensemble. Next, Doug Norwine Trio and Loretta Holloway will take the stage and finally the main act, Joe Gransden from Atlanta, Ga., will perform a tribute to Frank Sinatra in honor of his 100th birthday.

“The festival was designed to stimulate interest in and promote awareness of jazz in the Upstate,” said Marti Spencer, Executive Director/CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas. “We love to offer unique event experiences so everyone is able to join us as we support the Ronald McDonald House.”

Two types of tickets are available for purchase. The “Tasting Ticket” is $60 and includes access to the food and wine tasting in the Pavillion including the concert. The “Listening Ticket” is $25 and only grants access into the concert.  Tickets can be purchased online by visiting .

For information on sponsorships, please contact Kate Venuto, Director of Development and Marketing, at (864) 235-1984 or [email protected].


About the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas

More than just a room and a hot meal, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas is a home away from home for families of children receiving critical care at medical facilities in our community. The house can serve as a quiet place for families to be alone or as a place of companionship, sharing and emotional support with other families. Since 1989, Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas has cared for special families with 12 bedrooms, private baths, a double kitchen, living room, playroom and laundry facilities, as well as a courtyard with a peaceful fountain and bright sunroom. For more information on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas, please visit


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11th Annual Ronald Cup

Ronald Cup STDPut your coats and scarves back into storage and dust of those golf clubs—it’s time to celebrate warmer temperatures, longer days, and a great cause with the 11th annual Ronald Cup.  The Ronald Cup begins Friday, May 8th at 7:30am with a 9:00am shotgun start at The Preserve at Verdae.  The Ronald Cup will be preceded by a night of fun in beautiful downtown Greenville with the BeFore Social on Thursday May 7th at R6:00pm.

The social begins at Dark Corner Distillery with a tour of the modern but rustic distillery, boasting some of the Upstate’s finest moonshine and whiskeys.   The BeFore Social continues down North Main Street, following the “Mice on Main” to the Loft at Falls Park for an evening reception and live music by Spencer Rush.

Make sure to save some energy for the Ronald Cup the next morning.  With prizes including trips, cars, golf equipment and more, you’ll want to make sure you’re at the top of your game.  A light breakfast and range balls will be supplied the morning of the cup, and lunch and awards will begin after the day of golf.

Not an expert golfer?  No problem.  The Ronald Cup offers a Captain’s Choice for amateurs only.

This year, we welcome our 2015 Ronald Cup Honorary Chair Marion K. Gross, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management, North America and U.S. Sustainability McDonald’s USA, LLC!  Learn more about Marion and her award winning career with the McDonald’s system here.

From top to bottom, the 11th annual Ronald Cup and the BeFore Social are two great ways to enjoy great people, great weather, and support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas and our mission to provide a home to children and families in need.

Interested in sponsorship information and/or registering your team? Click here or contact Samantha Bauer at [email protected],com.

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