Rakeem from Mississippi came to RMHC Baltimore to stay while receiving treatments for a spinal cord injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute. At age 18, Rakeem was rendered paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a drunk driver. At age 21, Rakeem was able to participate in the 2014 Red Shoe Shuffle, controlling his chair by using just the motions of his head. An entire 5k using just your head? Now that’s what we call a McMiracle!
“We are overwhelmed with the amazing spirits here at the Ronald McDonald House. The ability to participate in the Red Shoe Shuffle after this injury made my heart feel a new beat. I had so much fun and even won 1st place in motorized wheelchair! It’s so wonderful that sponsors like Athletes Serving Athletes were there to help partner me through the entire race all the way to the finish line. Thank you for one of the most memorable days since my accident.”
Ryder loved the 2014 Red Shoe Shuffle so much, that he created his own dance for it! He called it the “Ryder Shuffle” and even taught it to Shuffle participants on race morning! Go Ryder!
Ryder suffered a Stroke in Utero and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy just before his 1st Birthday. We had no clue what his future would look like…would he walk, talk, jump, play? He is now 5 years old and to say he can do all of those things is an understatement. Through years of therapy and various procedures he has overcome many battles and continues to amaze us daily. We felt so blessed to be a part of the Red Shoe Shuffle 2014 – what an amazing event!!! The Ronald McDonald House and the entire Community makes the families feel so special and so loved, we are forever grateful for this charity and what it means to us! Ryder can’t wait to come back and Shuffle some more in 2015!
Brandy, Ryder’s mom
Kate & Christine
Kate is a 16 year old from upstate New York. When she was 4, her mother was told they would have to amputate her leg. Her mother refused to accept this and 10 years later, months and years in a wheelchair, multiple surgeries and therapies at the Rubin Institute, and countless stays at the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House, Kate ran her first 5k at the 2012 Red Shoe Shuffle.
I just ran a 5k.
I didn’t stop to sit down.
I crossed the finish line, and I wasn’t last.
I feel terrific.
(-double fist pump- I am the master commander. It’s me.)
Kate, 16 years old
Julie & Abby
Julie, mother of 3 year old Abby:
I’m sitting here with my laptop as my daughter sleeps, trying to put into words what The Red Shoe Shuffle meant to me.
You see, for us, it wasn’t just a 5K to raise money for a great charity. Being there, standing outside of the House that we lived in for so long, walking on streets that I could drive through with my eyes closed, listening to over 1,000 people cheering for the RMH kids that were too sick to come outside the house, watching my brave young friend Brooke sound the starting gun, holding my daughter’s hand to help her walk over the finish line…this is so much more than a 5K.
It isn’t about feeling sorry for sick kids who are away from their homes. It wasn’t gloom and doom and sad faces. It was a celebration of life!
This is hope. This is faith. This is love.
My heart was bursting at the thought of so many people wanting to show love to The House That Love Built. The signs along the course reminded us of the reason we were doing this. RMH families got “We Are Family” stickers to wear so that people could put faces with the cause. Volunteers, police officers, fireman, high school teams, and mascots cheered us on along the way.
If you had told me in late October of 2010 that our entire family would be participating in a 5K to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, I would have tearfully told you that you were crazy. If you had told me that Abby would walk across the finish line holding my hand, I probably would have had you committed! But we did, and she did!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you!!
Melissa for Malachi
Melissa lost her son Malachi in October of 2012. Malachi was in and out of the Johns Hopkins PICU since he was an infant. He never stayed at the House because he was always inpatient, but Melissa was here so much that she is part of our family. In 2012, she walked the entire Shuffle in her red high heels and, afterwards, she took Malachi a finisher’s medal in the hospital. In 2013, Melissa walked the entire Shuffle in her red high heels again in memory of her son.
I did it! I walked the entire 5k walk/run red shoe shuffle in my high heels. I did it for Malachi to honor his strength and his unbelievable will to live. It was very heartwarming all the people there to walk and run for all the families of the Ronald McDonald House.
Nine year old Erin was born a conjoined twin her sister Jade. After being separated in 2004, their parents noticed that Erin was not moving her legs. After undergoing an MRI on her brain and spine, doctors discovered she had a spinal cord injury, which happened during surgery. Erin works extremely hard at therapy, both at home and at therapy centers in order to regain as much function as she possibly can. Erin spent most of the 2013 Red Shoe Shuffle wheeling through the 5k in her chair, but stood up as she approached the end, and with the help of her friends and family, walked across the finish line!