Ronald McDonald House celebrates Easter
For the eighth year in a row Parkite Rhonda Block hosted Easter Funday at the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City.
Last Saturday the children staying there during treatment got to decorate Easter eggs and cookies, hunt for over 500 candy filled eggs and listen to story time.
"It gives them an opportunity to have fun," Block said.
Students from the Park City High School Key Club participated in all the events, helping to hide the eggs and get the dyes ready for children.
The event was held in honor of Joseph Vanderband, a 15-year-old boy who died from cancer in August 1997. Block met the teenager on a flight from Anchorage about six months earlier when she was working as a flight attendant. After Block complimented him on a hat he was wearing, Joseph’s mother, Sharon, offered to exchange it for a seat in first class.
Block and Sharon have been friends ever since. As Joseph’s illness got worse, Block helped Sharon in every way she could from having them over for dinner to helping with transportation.
"He had an incredible spirit," Block said adding he was a kind young man who was very concerned with the well-being of his parents.
After he passed away she began the annual Easter Funday at the Ronald McDonald House. Sharon often makes the trip from Alaska to be there for the event.
Many of Block’s friends contribute to Easter Funday along with Mountain Tax and Park City Dan’s manager Mike Holm who donated the candy. The Park City K-Kids, who meet once every other week for service projects, stuffed the eggs with the donated candy.
"It’s really good to help the community, and it’s fun," said K-Kid president and Parley’s Park Elementary School student Molly Jager.
Local author Jeanine Heil read from her book, "No Time for that Now," and donated a copy for each of the children. Block also arranged for all of them to take home stuffed animals.
"It’s just amazing to see their smiles," Block said, noting one young boy was "grinning from ear to ear with the bunnies and the eggs."
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