Edith Rosenblatt has been a volunteer for 44 of Ronald McDonald Houses’ 43 years in the Triangle. She is not only the organization’s first local volunteer, she began volunteering a full year before there was even a House in the state! And to top it off, Edith is still actively engaged, freely sharing both her time and her heart.
If you were to say serving sick children and their families is her life’s work, you would be correct.
Edith’s “career” as the longest tenured RMH volunteer in NC began in 1979 when a group of physicians and community leaders began meeting about the possibility of bringing the first Ronald McDonald House to the state. Her day job was unit coordinator for pediatrics at Duke Hospital, so she was perfectly suited for on-the-ground service at RMH.
For many years, Edith was both an “unofficial” RMH board member and the Duke staff member referring families to RMH. In fact, using a printed calendar and a pencil from her desk at the hospital, she assigned rooms to Duke pediatric families before RMH even had paid staff!
Edith has attended nearly every event held since the organization’s ribbon cutting in 1980. She served for decades on the RMH of Durham board and has so far served every board-level committee. She has spearheaded special projects and continues to actively involve her friends and family in RMH activities. Though it’s difficult to find new friends to introduce to the RMH mission, Edith always finds a way to expand the RMH circle. Currently, she remains an active meal-team volunteer with Kiwanis Club of the Friendly City, which has prepared monthly meals for years.
When asked what part of her involvement holds the most meaning for her, Edith always answers the same way: getting to know the families. When families are asked their favorite thing about RMH of Durham, the answer is very often the same: getting to know Edith, both at the hospital and at the House. It is not uncommon for families to see her after many years and know her immediately. It is equally likely Edith remembers them and the details of their childhood illness journeys, too.
While some organizations name buildings for people who donate large sums of money, Ronald McDonald House is different. When given the chance to name the elevator in the new facility expansion in 2012, RMH reached to the person with the biggest heart.
When you’re at the Durham House next, stop in and see Edith’s Elevator.