Ronald McDonald House brings families to visit Lucy the Elephant

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Children of the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey watch as America’s favorite clown juggles in front of Lucy the Elephant. Children of the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey watch as America’s favorite clown juggles in front of Lucy the Elephant. MARGATE  Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey took a trip to the Jersey Shore Wednesday, July 30 to see Margate’s favorite pachyderm  Lucy the Elephant.

The visit was made possible by the Ronald McDonald House Young Professionals Council, which creates recreational opportunities for seriously ill children whose families stay at the Ronald McDonald house, which has been providing comfortable living arrangements for families of children being treated at nearby hospitals for more than 30 years.

Rheana Gravell, 8, of Glenville, N.Y., Brooke Jasek, 8, of Boonville N.Y., Sophia Hogas, 6, of Chesterfield, and Braiden Jasek, 4 of Boonville, N.Y. pose for a teasing photo with Ronald McDonald. Rheana Gravell, 8, of Glenville, N.Y., Brooke Jasek, 8, of Boonville N.Y., Sophia Hogas, 6, of Chesterfield, and Braiden Jasek, 4 of Boonville, N.Y. pose for a teasing photo with Ronald McDonald. One such opportunity brought families and the familiar clown to visit Lucy.

“For us, Lucy is about kids, and sometimes you really have to look at the bigger picture,” said Rich Helfant, executive director of the attraction's support organization. “If Lucy can put a smile on the faces of these kids, then why not? Today is about them.” 

Helfant said that this is the first time an event like this has been held at the historic landmark.

The children took the tour through Lucy and spent some time on the sand with the clown, who posed for pictures and did some juggling. 

Sophia Hogas, 6, of Chesterfield was excited about her trip to see Lucy. 

“My favorite part was when we got to see what Lucy ate for breakfast,” she said.

Although they are currently staying in southern New Jersey, the children and their families are from all over the world.

“We have a family from Asia, a little boy from Puerto Rico, a child from Peru, and several other locations,” Ronald McDonald House executive director Teddy Thomas said. “Many are a long way from home.”

Sophia Hogas, 6, of Chesterfield, Brooke Jasek, 8, and Braiden Jasek, 4, both of Boonville, N.Y., and Rheana Gravell, 8, of Glenville ,N.Y., pose for a picture on the beach with Ronald McDonald. Sophia Hogas, 6, of Chesterfield, Brooke Jasek, 8, and Braiden Jasek, 4, both of Boonville, N.Y., and Rheana Gravell, 8, of Glenville ,N.Y., pose for a picture on the beach with Ronald McDonald. Kevin Ford, president of the Young Professional Council, said he was pleased with the event.

“We wanted to give these families a vacation from the difficulties they live each day,” he said. “These trips are a comforting distraction. Some of these kids have never seen the ocean.”

Ford said the council is looking into similar activities and trips for the children. 

“We recently held a barbecue for the families living in the house,” he said. “We do hold events to raise money for the house, but we also try to host some events just for fun. Today is the perfect example.”

 


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