Local News

Ronald McDonald House short $1.2M for expansion

Posted February 15, 2012
Updated February 16, 2012

— The Ronald McDonald House in Durham is still $1.2 million short of its budget for an expansion to the center.

But the nonprofit is moving ahead anyway with a construction project that will double the number of families it can help. 

"We are building in faith. We aren't waiting until we have all the money to start building," Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Oie OsterKamp said Wednesday. "We have faith in the community to come together so we can finish construction." 

Last year, the nonprofit provided a home away from home for 1,200 families, but had to turn away 700 families in need because of the lack of space. 

The new building will "allow us to say yes to a whole lot more, which is a wonderful thing," OsterKamp said. 

Matthew Pitera, 15, of New Jersey, is battling his second recurrence of brain cancer at Duke University Hospital. He and his mother, Erika Pitera, are grateful to relax and recover at the Ronald McDonald House. 

"It's wonderful. It truly is a home away from home," Erika Pitera said. "I don't have to be concerned about what am I cooking for dinner. There is a beautiful meal every single night." 

Ronald McDonald House needs money for expansion Ronald McDonald House needs money for expansion

Erika Pitera said it gives her peace of mind to know that she has a beautiful place for her son to recover. 

Following this round of treatment, Piteras will have to return to the Ronald McDonald house for another eight weeks of treatment.

"My mom is always by my side, and everyone here is too," Matthew Pitera said. "I'm never like alone."


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  • lroyal10900 Feb 17, 2012

    She spent 10 days at UNC. My husband & youngest daug. were able to stay at the RMH--and it gave me a place to come get a good night's sleep, get me out of the hospital for a little while, and spend time with my youngest child, who still needed Mommy too.

    The RMH is a blessing you can't imagine....until you have to stay there. They feed you, you have your own room, they have things to occupy your kids. It gives you a break--and a chance to be with others who know what you're going through.

    It's been 2 months now, and I still can't wrap my head around the fact that my daughter spend 1 week in the PICU & 10 days total at UNC Children's. But fortunately we had the RMH for me & the rest of my family to be able to turn to.

  • lroyal10900 Feb 17, 2012

    Why all these negative comments on what is a very positive story??

    Not a one of us knows when you may need the services of the RMH. Dec. 14th my 15 yo daughter got up and started getting ready for school. She started complaining of a headache--I gave her some pain medicine and took her to school. About 9:30am the school called me & said I needed to come get her--she had started vomiting & had passed out in the bathroom. I just chalked it up to a migraine.

    When I got to school, she was VERY ill, & we even had to get a wheelchair to get her to the car, as she couldn't walk. Started towards home & she complained more & more, so I decided to go straight to Urgent Care with her. Once we got there, the PA who saw her just felt something wasn't right & sent us for a stat CT. Next thing I knew, I was told she had a brain bleed & was put on a chopper to UNC.

  • Ambygirl Feb 16, 2012

    we2hedonists I learned most everything about love2dostuff from you. And I appreciate it more than you know. You'll never be able to make some commentors let go of their negative side. They will always wallow in it and never give anyone else the credit they deserve because they can't let go of the little green monster that lives inside them. It's too hard to give others the praise because they want to be the center of attention. love2dostuff is actually very humble in my opinion.

    There are others here that made donations also and I want to give you my thanks as well. You all deserve a handshake and praise for giving to others that need it maybe more than yourselves.

  • we2hedonists Feb 16, 2012

    Yeah, ALL he had to do was play football. That is easy right? Just show up for games and perform. No worries of having that pesky permanent injury for the rest of your life when you are only 24. You know anything about professional athletes? They train 365 days a year most of the time.

    DO you know what "walk-on" means??? It means he approached the coach at college and asked to try out. No free ride. No player benefits like making up assignments or missed work, etc. You know absolutely nothing of this man yet you continue to criticize. Did you know he works 7 days a week as a Marine and has done so from one month after he chose not to renew his contract with the Chicago Bears as a linebacker?

    I would love to see you say these things to his face.

  • UNC PH.d Feb 16, 2012

    "Maybe you should know the whole story before you criticize others. He is like 6'8" & 295 pounds what was he supposed to do besides playy football?? - we2hedonist

    Yeah, he's a really great guy and all....but you can't deny that having a football salary makes things ALOT, and he has more time (offseason) to finish school, do charity etc. Most people don't have that luxury, nor that salary..

  • we2hedonists Feb 16, 2012

    If you people only knew the heart in this man you would sing a different tune. he is in local news a lot for this work and he is only 27.

  • we2hedonists Feb 16, 2012

    @ goodnessgracious

    Here is one for your point little head. He is a U.S.Marine and he does not do it for the money. He was also voted most eligible bachelor in pittsburgh several year ago and went on a date as a fundraiser for duquesene childrens hospital. A woman with the last name "Dupont" paid the charity $10-K to go on a date with him.

    Yeah he is just a terrible person to have put himself through school, joined college football as a "walk on" (if you dont know what that is, it is no picnic) and paid his own college then went back to school while playing football to get his masters degree.

    Maybe you should know the whole story before you criticize others. He is like 6'8" & 295 pounds what was he supposed to do besides playy football??

  • UNC PH.d Feb 16, 2012

    "I didn't read where he said anything about us needing to make good financial decisions, he said that HE made good decisions which has lead to him having money"

    A lot of it comes down to personal choices. You know, get the house in Fuquay instead of Cary, the Honda Accord instead of the $40,000 Acura, etc etc. Money saved in the bank or lots of available credit is what life is all about according to more and more people these days. I'm starting to believe it!

  • UNC PH.d Feb 16, 2012

    Making money isn't really necessarily based on a college degree anymore, even from Wake Tech. There was a young entrepreneur's conference in Greensboro a few years back I went to. There were kids there 18-25 years old making $100,000 year from the Internet. Building websites, database admin work, installing networks in their neighbors homes, etc. All it takes is hard work and well...these days....intelligence and techy savvy...

  • lovethemoment Feb 16, 2012

    godnessgracious2-I didn't read where he said anything about us needing to make good financial decisions, he said that HE made good decisions which has lead to him having money. Some may say playing professional football is a good financial decision, it worked for him. Just say thank you and leave it be, what is it your right to judge him?