The Trains At NorthPark With Kid Conductor Ruth Daniel Kicked Off The Ronald McDonald House Of Dallas Fundraiser

Change can be good. And The Trains at NorthPark breakfast kick-off on Saturday, November 22, proved just that.

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Tia Wynne and Jamie Singer

Face painting

Face painting

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

Connie Yates and Tom Thumb

The biggy change for the annual roll of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas fundraiser was the relocation. Instead of many past Trains at NorthPark being on the upper level between Neiman’s and Nordstroms, the 2014 ever-popular train depot was located downstairs in the old Coldwater Creek space. Event Co-Chairs Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne were thrilled about the relocation and the setting. The rustic boards on the walls made it perfect for trains to roll by.

Ribbon-cutting participants

Ribbon-cutting participants

Another advantage of the lower space was a lot more square footage in the common area to do face painting, balloon-creature making and food.

Still another change was the emcee. In the past couple of years WFAA has been the media sponsor and provided the emcee like Colleen Coyle and Janet St. James. This year the emcee was KXAS news anchor Meredith Land.

Meredith Lamb and Jill Cumnock

Meredith Land and Jill Cumnock

Luckily, there was no change in the presenting sponsor. Once again Bank of Texas was on board.

As for the kid guests, they were darn adorable. One just might suspect they were hired from Central Casting.

While kids and parents partied big time waiting for the doors to open, Honorary Co-Chairs Regen and Dr. Jeffrey Fearon and six-year-old Honorary Conductor Ruth Daniel and her family were touring the collection of trains inside. Surrounded by miniature trains and amazing backdrops, the Daniel family was the real attention getter.

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

Regen and Jeffrey Fearon, John Daniel, Jeremiah Daniel and Robin Daniel

In many ways, they looked like the rest of the families on the other side of the doors. But they were truly unique. From Tyler, Robin and John Daniel have seven kids — John David (14), Joshua (11), Rachel (10), Rebekah (8), Josiah (7), Ruth (6) and Jeremiah (16 months). Of that count, five were adopted. Which ones? Who knew and who cared? They were all Daniels.

The Robin and John Daniel's family

The Robin and John Daniel’s family

But it was little Ruth who was the reason for the family’s involvement with Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. This past October 27, Ruth and Jeffrey spent some very serious time together. It was on this day that Jeffrey “performed craniofacial surgery to help Ruth with her severe sleep apnea (by having a Le Forte 1 with a halo distraction performed). He also pinned her ears to better fit her hearing aid and glasses.”

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

John Daniel and Ruth Daniel

But there were more issues facing the Daniels family. They needed a place to stay during the days leading up to Ruth’s surgery and recovery. It had to be a nurturing place where the staff understood and could assist the family and the little girl, who has Down Syndrome.

According to Jeffrey, “The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas is a unique and very special place. It provides a warm supportive environment where families who have a sick child needing specialized treatment that takes them far from home can rest and decompress from all the associated stresses. My patients uniformly have nothing but wonderful things to say about the House.”

Robin recalled, “I was so glad that she had a place to be able to play and have fun and decrease her stress and anxiety about the upcoming surgery. She loved the outside playground, playroom and the library of children’s books.  When we came back from the hospital to check out of the Ronald McDonald House, all Ruth could talk about was wanting to go play.”

Once again the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas was there to help a family who has sought medical care in Dallas for their child. And once again, the little trains are hitting the rails to provide funding for such a home-away-from-home for these families.