My path to volunteering at Ronald McDonald's House started on February 5th 2000 with the birth of my third child, Kristen. She was born full-term and healthy but during her first week of life she developed a severe case of RSV and spent 13 days at UMC's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. When she was released, I felt so grateful to have my newborn baby home, but wasn't able to let go of the anger, resentment and fear I had felt during those 13 days.
As I came across the volunteer opportunities, the Hospital Lunch Program really caught my attention. I vividly remember what it was like sitting next to my daughter each day not having a desire to eat but knowing I needed to. I filled out a volunteer application that same day and within a week I was at the House to deliver my first batch of lunches.
The first few months were a bit uncomfortable for me. Visiting the hospitals and handing out lunches to families was a vivid reminder of those days with Kristen so long ago. But within a very short time I felt completely comfortable coming and going from the hospital rooms and communicating with the families. I also began to let go of those negative emotions I had been holding on to for the past eight years. I started to look forward to the day I would volunteer each week and was so thankful to have a way to help families that were going through an experience I knew all to well.
Pretty soon I wanted more! The next volunteer opportunity that interested me was the Dinner Program. I began signing up to make dinner once a month for the families staying at the House. I loved visiting with the family members and listening to their stories. The House provides such a relaxed and comfortable environment for these families, and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of that.
After about six months my family started noticing that I was spending more and more time volunteering and asked if they could volunteer with me. My 19 year daughter Carli, a student at UNLV, started coming with me to deliver lunches and prepare dinner. My son Brad, 13, and Kristen, now a healthy, sweet and sassy 10 year old, often come with me to help with dinner as well. It's such a positive way to spend time together as a family, especially in this busy stage of their teenage lives.
In my hectic life of raising a family and helping my husband manage our business, I feel fortunate to have found a place where I have no demands or expectations placed on me. The generous staff at RMH never fails to acknowledge my time with words of appreciation, but it's me who wants to say "THANK YOU" for allowing me to become a better mother, wife, friend and woman.
“I love talking to the families staying at the House and at the hospital. I can really see how my time is helping them” - Linda Isberg
In September of 2009, Linda Isberg found herself among the thousands in Las Vegas to be out of work. She was used to working a 40 hour week and suddenly had a lot of extra time on her hands. So Linda called the Ronald McDonald House to see how she could help as a volunteer...and we're so glad she did! Linda has become one of our most faithful and dependable volunteers, and was recently awarded Volunteer of the Quarter for the 4th quarter of 2009.
Linda had never volunteered before, and didn't know what to expect when she started. She just knew that she didn't want to sit around her house reading books all day. During her first month, Linda was approached by a boy staying at the House who was here waiting to have heart surgery.
After introducing himself, he asked to give Linda a hug, which is a moment that will forever stand out in her mind. "I love talking to the families staying at the House and at the hospital," she says. "I can really see how my time is helping them.
Not only does Linda drive 24 miles from Anthem twice a week to help make and deliver sandwiches for the Lunch is on Us program, she is always willing to fill in at a moment's notice when we need her. The Lunch is on Us program provides 550 lunches every week to families staying with their children at Sunrise Children's Hospital and University Medical Center (UMC), and is 100% volunteer driven. Without volunteers like Linda, the program would not be possible. When asked what she's going to do when she does find full time work again, Linda insists that she will still make time to help out at least one day a week. And we're going to hold her to that promise!