Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eudora mom takes up cause of sick children

Ronni Faircloth stands with her daughter Raegan on Friday as her sons Joseph and Clayton play on the swings at Paschal Fish Park.

Ronni Faircloth stands with her daughter Raegan on Friday as her sons Joseph and Clayton play on the swings at Paschal Fish Park.

March 20, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: March 19, 2008, 4:12 p.m.

For some, the best way to start out each morning wouldn't include taking three children to school and then driving to work while listening to heart-wrenching stories of children fighting to live through potentially fatal illnesses.

But Ronni Faircloth, a Eudora mother of three, listened to the stories on Kansas City-based radio station Mix 93.3. The radio station and the Children's Miracle Network were in the midst of holding their 10th annual Radiothon, which raises money for ill children throughout the Kansas City area.

"My kids would listen to it on the way to school and say 'Gosh mom, you should help them and send them money every month,'" Faircloth said. "I would say 'I'd like to, but I spend all my money on you.' It bothered me that I had to tell them we couldn't help these families."

After a sleepless night thinking about how she could make things right, Faircloth came to the conclusion she would ask everyone she knows to make a one-time contribution of $10.

"I assume a lot of people are like me - living paycheck-to-paycheck on a limited budget, trying to do the best they can - and I thought surely everybody can sacrifice just a one-time $10 check," Faircloth said.

That day, she e-mailed everyone she knew, explaining her idea for a one-time donation and telling the story of a 4-year-old child - which is the same age as her youngest son, Joseph - she knew who was diagnosed with leukemia.

"I couldn't imagine being in the place (of those parents), and I used a little bit of that story in the email," she said.

She then asked everyone to forward it to people they knew. The outpouring of support shocked the lifelong Eudora resident, as many responses came from friends of her friends.

"It was amazing because people they know aren't necessarily the people I know," Faircloth said. "I had people e-mailing me and then sending me checks from Nebraska and Nevada. It turned into something so amazing."

On that first day, she also visited some people to ask for money, which admittedly made her nervous.

Her first stop was her ex-husband's mother's workplace. She left with $40 and it became easier for her to ask for donations.

Faircloth has collected about $700, to date.

"I didn't have a goal to begin with, but now I do," She said. "I thought, 'How neat would it be to be able to send in $1000 dollars?'"

She has met several people who have a story about a sick child now is well, possibly as a result of people like her.

For instance, one man she only knew of through business but had never met came to the title company were she worked. He gave her a check and said he received an email and told her about how his then 16-year-old niece almost died from leukemia, but now is a senior at K-State.

All of the stories have made her stop taking the health of her children for granted.

"Everybody has a story, and it makes me really appreciate my kids are and how fortunate their dad and I are that we don't have to spend our days in the hospital," Faircloth said. "I assumed that when my kids were born and hit all of their milestones that nothing would ever happen to them, and that's just not the case. Kids are being diagnosed with stuff everyday, and it's more apparent to me because people are telling me their stories that I never would've heard had I not started doing this."

She also said it has been a valuable lesson for her children to learn.

"I always try to teach them that no matter how bad they think we have it, there are always people out there who have it worse," Faircloth said. "When I came up with the idea to ask people to donate, I made sure that they knew that's what I was doing."

The lesson hasn't been lost on her 9-year-old daughter, Raegan.

"It's great," Raegan said. "I'm happy that we're helping the kids out."

And when her 8-year-old son Clayton heard how much money they had raised, he simply said, "wow."

Faircloth still is collecting donations, but wants to make sure people do not make any checks out to her.

"I'm asking people to write checks that are made payable to Children's Miracle Network," she said. "In all honesty, it's just one less thing that I have to do and it makes me feel better that they're reassured about where their money is going"

To make a donation, contact Ronni Faircloth via email at rfaircloth78@hotmail.com, or visit www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org.

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