After 8 a.m. on Saturday morning Sept. 15, runners in Bishop lined up at the starting line; young families with little kids dressed up in red and white striped socks, and some in pink tutus. Through the Ronald McDonald House 5k walk/run, Alix Ellis mother of Bodie Ellis, said that she wants to “[bring] positive awareness to just how much support and love the Inland Empire Ronald McDonald House gives to Inyo/Mono County families with children [facing] medical needs.”
Ellis said “in 2011, my son was born 5-weeks early and we were flown to Reno to have him. Three days after he was born they realized that they had a kidney disease, so we were then flown to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. We got there on a Friday night and we did not know where we were going. We left our three little kids home and once we got to the hospital, they were like go across the street—go check into The Ronald McDonald House. We knew about the Ronald McDonald House, because my younger sister had her son and stayed and lived there for two-months. So, we knew they existed and helped people who needed to stay near the hospital,” she said. Alix Ellis also said that “you do not want to worry about the little things—[sometimes] you just do not remember to eat and there is so much going on. We were blessed enough to stay there for two-weeks, they only charged us $10 a night and if you cannot pay that they won’t even charge you that,” she said. Bodie still goes down to the hospital at Loma Linda for surgeries and procedures, and doctor’s appointments and “they still allow us to stay when we come down, because we drive four-and-a-half hours from Bishop to get there,” Alix Ellis said.
Karen Hooper, Executive Director of Inland Empire at Ronald McDonald House, said there are “twelve houses in California and six fall [into] our chapter,” she said. The Inland Empire location has been there twenty-two years and “opened Sept. 12, 1996 [and is] adjacent to the Loma Linda Children’s hospital,” Hooper said.