Ronald McDonald House Prepares for Big Fundraiser

Created: 07/18/2014 6:43 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Nearly a thousand people stayed in the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester last year, while getting treatment at Mayo Clinic. Of course, helping all those families costs money. Next week, the Ronald McDonald House is hosting one of its big fundraisers, the Swing Your Birdie Golf Classic.

The more money it raises, the more families can be helped.

For Tracie Schnell, jugging three wild ones is just the beginning of her motherly concerns. "It's an up and down roller coaster is what I call it, you just don't know from day to day,” said Tracie Schnell, whose family stays at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

It's her oldest daughter, Hailey, that gave her a scare no mom would ever want. "She's doing great now, but you wouldn't know it as a baby, they gave us a 50/50 chance and we got the good 50 chance,” said Schnell.

Hailey was born with a heart defect, she's had three open heart surgeries and many others to get her to where she's at today. On top of everything, Tracie’s son was born premature and suffered from seizures as a baby. "Financially we'd be in a hole if we didn't have this house,” she said.

As a single income family, with dad home working in Iowa, staying at the Ronald McDonald House while going to Mayo Clinic for months at a time, has been a life saver for the Schnell family.

"Here you can feel like your home, they get to play, they get to run, they get to use up some of that energy they have built up,” said Schnell.

"As the Mayo Clinic grows, children's needs grow. We're going to see more here, so we are expanding towards that and we're looking to the future, so we need support all the time,” said Dan Pulford, Ronald McDonald House Board Member.

Which is why the Ronald McDonald House holds fundraisers like the upcoming Swing Your Birdie Golf Classic, to give families like the Schnells a home away from home.

"You get to see that big smile on their face, that's well worth it, this place gives them their smile back,” said Schnell.

The Swing Your Birdie Golf Classic raised $40,000 for the Ronald McDonald house last year. Organizers hope to raise even more next Friday. So golfers they're calling on you, there's still room in the tournament.

Ronald McDonald House 507-282-3955

36th Annual Swing Your Birdie Golf Classic

Willow Creek Golf Course

Friday, July 25 - 11am

$125 per golfer: includes golf, lunch and social hour