COLORADO SPRINGS — A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday for Liam’s Lighthouse, an installment at the Ronald McDonald House in Colorado Springs.
Liam was a baby boy diagnosed with a rare disease – Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
“When he was ten months old, he started showing signs of this disease that we knew nothing about,” said Michelle Schulze, Liam’s mom. “It wasn’t until he was severely, severely ill and practically on his deathbed that we got the diagnosis of HLH.”
While Liam was receiving treatment, the family stayed in a Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.
“When families are going through a time like this, just being able to go grab a quick meal or, you know, have that place to go that’s close to the hospital,” said Schulze. “It’s just so amazing. I get at a loss for words about it.”
Beth Alessio, Executive Director Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado, explained how the organization provides support for families in challenging times.
“These families are hurting,” said Alessio. “They’re hurting so much, and they need all the help that they can get so they can focus on their hospitalized child.”
Liam passed away at 20 months old after a complication with a bone marrow transplant. Following his death, Michelle Schulze founded Liam’s Lighthouse Foundation to help raise funds for HLH research and support families.
Shulze said how special the partnership is between Liam’s Lighthouse Foundation and Ronald McDonald House of Southern Colorado.
“Just to be able to partner with you guys and the Ronald McDonald House here, it’s a dream come true,” said Schulze. “We couldn’t be more proud, too. And everybody here has been so welcoming, just like part of the family and you know, we can’t thank you enough or so appreciative of that then to have this opportunity.”
Liam’s Lighthouse Foundation donated funds to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado to build a new playground.
“It just means a lot that it’ll always be here, and other families will be able to enjoy it and play with it,” said Liam’s dad, Chris Schulze.
The lighthouse marks the launch to the new playground at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado.
“The playground is going to be absolutely beautiful. Liam’s lighthouse is the launch of it,” said Alessio. “We’re going to be able to create spaces for all kiddos to go outside and play and just relax and not think about anything.”
Liam’s grandmother, Rose Ann Podminick, said she is so happy to give back to the Ronald McDonald House.
“We just wanted to give back to the to other families and have something for the kids that are sick, for their families, something for them to do here that they can enjoy,” said Podminick. “We’re really excited about this.”
Donations can be made online to Liam’s Lighthouse Foundation.