Print Friendly and PDF

Ronald McDonald House of Detroit to hold its first-time telethon on WDIV on Dec. 1st with promotional outreach during America’s Thanksgiving Parade

Detroit … Ronald McDonald House of Detroit will build awareness for its $3 million expansion campaign during the WDIV-Local 4 broadcast of America’s Thanksgiving Parade, leading up to its first-time telethon, Dec. 1, on WDIV. The nonprofit is four months into the campaign as it prepares to move to a new location and broaden its services to families who stay at the House while their children are hospitalized.

The House is moving from a building adjacent to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, one-half mile north to 4727 St. Antoine, the Hutzel Professional Building. The entire second floor is being renovated for its exclusive use and should be completed in February 2015.

“Our ‘Hearts, Hands and Home’ expansion campaign, with the tie-in to the Thanksgiving parade, is history-making for our organization,” said Jennifer Litomisky, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. “We have never had this kind of public outreach before – the parade coverage and a day-long telethon are expected to reach more than one million viewers.”

This year’s parade grand marshals are Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who are also the House’s honorary campaign chairpersons.

Litomisky will be interviewed in a live segment during the parade about the work of the House and how it benefits families with children who are undergoing medical care.

The Dec. 1 telethon airs on a day known as Cyber Monday, typically the highest-volume day for online holiday shopping. As people open their wallets, Litomisky and her campaign team, headed by McDonald’s owner/operator Teresa Saputo of Oakland Township, are counting on a spirit of goodwill to help the expansion campaign get closer to its $3 million goal.

During the telethon, vignettes of families who have stayed at the house will be broadcast on WDIV; the vignettes will also be shown on Comcast. The telethon will also be supported by awareness ads on WDIV’s website:, from Thanksgiving Day until Dec. 31.

The telethon, hosted by Kim Adams, will run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. as a backdrop to the station’s regular programming with 90-second segments of the phone bank and related updates shown throughout the day. Gold Medalists Meryl and Charlie will help answer phones. The number, 844-RMH-GIFT, will be live starting Nov. 22 through Dec. 1.

Meryl and Charlie noted, “We are honored to support the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit’s expansion campaign to help give families and their children the best ‘home away from home’ experience possible. Your gift will help provide a warm, safe and comforting place for families to stay while their children receive medical care.”

Litomisky said, “We are thrilled to have the support of Meryl and Charlie, who can bring greater awareness of the needs of the families who stay at the House while caring for children afflicted by cancer, genetic conditions and other severe illnesses.”

The new House will have 28 private rooms, including five-long term stay rooms, each with a private bathroom; a teen room; a serenity garden and a high-tech media room so family members can keep in touch through wi-fi access. It will also feature a larger kitchen in which families can prepare their own meals or gather for meals prepared by service groups, who tend to come more often during the holidays.

“The move will double our space and allow us to offer additional services to provide both the comforts of home and the latest technology so parents can focus on helping their children recover faster,” said Litomisky. One of the new services is a van that will transport families between the House and Children’s Hospital.

The House depends on support from businesses, individuals and foundations. To raise awareness, McDonald’s Corp.’s ad agency, Moroch, has donated billboards that focus on the support that parents receive from the Ronald McDonald House in Detroit.

Litomisky and board members were delighted to obtain a rate of $1 for a 100-year lease from Tenet Healthcare, owners of the Detroit Medical Center. The low-cost rent allows the House to build up its endowment fund, one of the goals of the expansion campaign. No family is turned away from staying at the House, now in its 36th year, due to a lack of funds.

Donations to the campaign can be made online at any time at