This partnership is extremely meaningful to all three parties, especially the Comly family. John and Ginny Comly sadly lost their infant daughter, Caroline, in 2018. The Comlys wished to see Caroline’s memory live on within the walls of the Hemby Children’s Hospital and wanted to create a space for families going through similar journeys with their children.
“We were blessed that we had family (in Charlotte), so we had people bringing us clothes and food. The nurses would let us sneak in and use the shower in rooms that were being turned over. But you’re sort of cobbling all this together, and we thought, ‘There’s got to be another way,’” said the Comlys. “What we really wanted was just a peaceful place that had peaceful colors — to make it warm, comfortable, as much like home as possible. We were thinking about a way to make it not feel like a hospital but to make it feel like a place where your mind could take you somewhere peaceful.”
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Caroline’s Corner is designed to look different than its clinical surroundings. The Family Room will be a welcoming, home-like environment, that will enable families to experience some restorative time for themselves without having to be too far away from their child’s hospital room or leave the hospital. The space will provide families a break from the stress of the hospital environment where they can relax, prepare a meal, do their laundry, or even grab a snack. The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte will staff the Family Room with dedicated volunteers and will offer programming to families such as visits with therapy dogs and evening activities; similar to those activities offered to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House off of Morehead Street.
“The Family Room will be more than just a space; more than bricks and mortar,” stated Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte CEO Denise Cubbedge. “The Family Room program will provide a quiet place for families to take time for themselves so they can better prepare for the emotional and mental demands of having a child in the hospital. We are honored to partner with the Comly Family and help them create a warm, welcoming space in Caroline’s memory. We also thank Novant Health for making it possible to take a space within Hemby and turn it into the first Family Room in the area. There are over 260 Family Rooms around the world, and we are happy to bring this incredible program to Charlotte for the first time to Caroline’s Corner at Hemby.”
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Caroline’s Corner is made possible through support of the Novant Health Foundation.
“The Novant Health Foundation is excited to have a home away from home within Hemby Children’s Hospital for families to feel as comfortable as possible while being only a few feet away from their child, “ said Jennifer Clifford, chief development officer of the Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center Foundation. “We are thankful for the partnership with the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte for playing a major role in the success of the Family Room with programming and volunteers. Caroline’s legacy will live through so many children and The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Caroline’s Corner will be a gentle reminder of the impact that the Comly family will have on so many people. The ability for families to connect as they embark on similar situations is vital, developing friendships and support systems that will last a lifetime.”
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Caroline’s Corner is scheduled to open to families in early 2021. A formal dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the time of opening.