Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario is very fortunate to have a number of supporters who dedicate their time to contributing to the well being of the families who stay with us. Sometimes, these supporters are those who have been in need of Ronald McDonald House themselves.
This is the case with Lyn Noble, who stayed at the House when she had her premature daughter in 2009. A young mother from Listowel, Lyn found herself in need of a safe place with a warm bed where she could stay close to her daughter, Ayla. Ronald McDonald House became this place, as Lyn found herself staying at the House on four occasions for a total of 27 days, while Ayla gained the strength she needed to return home. Lyn recalls the long drive from Listowel to London, and a question she would ask herself during every car ride; "Could I run from Ronald McDonald House to Listowel?"
An avid runner, one day while jogging with a friend, Lyn gained the courage to ask that very question she had been avoiding for some time in fear of rejection. Expecting her running buddy to laugh in disbelief, Lyn was surprised by the positive response — and that moment of assurance was all she needed.
She immediately went to her trainer who was nothing but willing to help her reach her goal. With experience in 5k runs and warrior dashes, this 108k run from London to Listowel would take a lot of dedication from Lyn and would show others just how far away she would have been from her daughter had it not been for RMH. Going to the gym 6 days a week for months, Lyn set the date for her two day "Run for Ronald" to begin September 5, 2013 and began spreading the word every way she could.
When the day arrived, Lyn found herself at the Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario at 6 am and began her Run for Ronald. Everything was going smoothly until 28 km in, when her knee began to spasm. With 80 km left to go, Lyn taped and iced her knee only to find the pain getting worse, as if a knife were digging into her knee. With a van full of family and friends driving beside her every step, Lyn knew she could not disappoint them or the other families who had been rallying their support. As she continued to run in intense pain, Lyn would look down at the names she had written on her arms of other children who relied on the Ronald McDonald House as their "home away from home"; these names became her inspiration. As she neared the end of her run and made it closer to her hometown, the faces showing support became familiar.
One particular boy named Jacob, who had been battling cancer and had stayed with his family at Ronald McDonald House, was one of these faces. She saw him standing by the road with tears running down his face yelling out "Thank you!" This is one moment that sticks out to Lyn, because it was a moment when she saw the impact her 108 km run had made.
Two days after leaving the Ronald McDonald House in London, Lyn saw her end mark, the Listowel McDonald's, in sight. A crowd of friends and family stood waiting to celebrate her triumph, but most important in this group was her daughter. Lyn wanted Ayla to know she could do anything she set her mind to, even as a young girl facing disabilities, and completing this run did just that.
Today, Lyn's knee is still sore; however, she would not change her humbling experience for anything. Lyn raised not only $12,000 for the House, but also awareness about what the Ronald McDonald House does for out-of-town families with a premature baby, or any seriously ill child, in need of health care in London. There are so many ways people can show their support for the House, and while we all can't run 108 km we all do have something to offer!
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