Gifts brighten kids’ lives
By Jewish Review Staff
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The Ronald McDonald House in Portland was the recipient of 132 stuffed animals and $206 in cash that was donated by Ron and Judy Appelbaum and their 80 guests who attended a combination 60th birthday party and anniversary party held July 28, 2007, at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City.
Ron Appelbaum turned 60 on May 7, and Judy Appelbaum will turn 60 next year on Feb. 27.
The couple celebrated the tenth anniversary of their engagement on May 17, and the ninth anniversary of their wedding on June 14.
For their celebration, the couple asked guests to bring stuffed animals for the Ronald McDonald House.
Located near Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at the Oregon Health and Science University in Southwest Portland, Portland’s Ronald McDonald House—a project of the international Ronald McDonald House Charities, which operates in 49 countries—provides 16 bedrooms for families living away from their hometown who have a child in the hospital or who need to be close to the hospital so that their child can receive treatment.
A nominal fee of $20 per night is charged, but this can be waived.
When a family arrives, the child will find a stuffed animal on his or her bed—something that they can hold onto during this trying time.
The Appelbaums have donated stuffed animals to various organizations for their anniversary each year. The tradition started at their wedding where they used stuffed African animals for thematic centerpieces tied to their then forthcoming honeymoon in Kenya.
The centerpieces were subsequently given to Doernbecher’s. Other donations have been made to Doernbecher’s, the Dougy Center, the Ronald McDonald House, the Portland Police Bureau’s Buddy Bear Program, and the Native American Veterans Association.
When they delivered the animals recently, the Appelbaums met one of the residents, a little girl named Jessica, who was undergoing chemotherapy.
“The smile on that child’s face when she saw all of the animals and was told that she could pick one out for herself melted my heart,” said Ron Appelbaum.
While there, the Appelbaum’s overheard a telephone conversation in which a family was turned away because all 16 rooms were occupied.
Julie Ramil, a staff member at the Ronald McDonald House, said that sometimes families will sleep in their cars in the parking lot hoping that a room will open up the next morning.
Ron Appelbaum has been involved in various non-profit organizations since moving to Portland in 1979.
Judy Appelbaum is the daughter of the late Harry and Diane Nemer, who were widely admired for their charitable acts throughout the Portland area and within Portland’s Jewish community.