Lending a handPublished 12:12am Sunday, November 17, 2013
Girl Scouts exceed donation goal for Ronald McDonald House
Cyndee Davis watched her daughter’s eyes fill with tears.
“I did this,” 9-year-old Arianna Shaus, said. “All of this because of little me.”
Area Girl Scouts began collecting soda can tabs two years ago for the Ronald McDonald House charity with a set goal of 100 pounds. The troops found out on Saturday the 100-pound goal was surpassed nearly twofold.
Jars, sandwich bags, totes and cardboard boxes were just some of the items filled with a total of 184 pounds of tabs weighed at the Ironton First Church of the Nazarene’s Tab-A-Thon.
“These tabs will become food, toys and other important things for the families who stay with us,” Margaret Wilson, executive director of the Huntington, W.Va., Ronald McDonald House, said. “We use the money from these tabs to make our house more like a home.”
These tabs will be split evenly between the Huntington and Cincinnati Ronald McDonald houses and are worth 55 cents a pound, which made the Tab-A-Thon raise more than $100. That total includes a few donations from people in the community.
After the weigh-in and prior to a magic show the Girl Scouts heard from Shaus, a fourth-grader at Ironton Elementary who spent six weeks at the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, Ky., and tirelessly collects and encourages the collection of tabs.
“The Ronald McDonald House helped me, the people there got me gifts and supported me,” Shaus said. “It encouraged me to keep getting better.”
Shaus and her mother, Cyndee Davis, were in Lexington for a 10-day recovery program. Those 10 days turned into six weeks.
“It happened two days before Thanksgiving in 2012,” Davis said. “Her last full meal was last Thanksgiving and her next full meal she says will be this Thanksgiving.”
Shaus witnessed a classmate choke on cheddar cheese snack crackers. She soon developed a fear of choking and subsequently stopped eating and drinking, causing rapid weight loss and overall sickness from malnutrition.
While at the Ronald McDonald House, Davis said, the staff went to great lengths to make their stay as comfortable, and as much like home, as possible.
“We got passes for free ice skating, free museum tickets and free tickets to shows at the Lexington Opera House,” Davis said. “We came home to Ironton on Christmas Eve and went back to Lexington on Christmas Day. We walked in the room and Christmas gifts were everywhere. Arianna will never forget that.”
Shaus was ultimately diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and now attends therapy twice a week. Her brother, T.J., said she doesn’t want to go back to the Ronald McDonald House, but, at the same time, she never wants to leave.
“She wants other kids to have the same experience she did,” he said. “She will keep collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House forever.”
The Daises, Brownies and Girl Scouts who collected the tabs were troops 912, 2186 and 1810 from Coal Grove, troops 1797 and 982 from Rock Hill, troop 990 from Ironton, troop 90 from Holy Family in Ashland, Ky., and troop 564 from Grayson, Ky.
Guy Reynolds, also known as Jericho the Clown, entertained the troops with magic and balloon animals and art.