Maverick's birthday

After finding solace in the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital, Julie decided to throw her now healthy 1-year-old a special kind of party.
Fundraiser Name
Maverick's 1st birthday
Raised for
RMHC Toronto
Amount Raised
$1,035
Nights accommodation
for families in need
6
"When I was alone in my room at the Ronald McDonald Family Room, I was very grateful and thought to myself: I must do something in return."
Julie Lucarelli first heard about Ronald McDonald House Charities on July 26th 2014, after giving birth to her first child, Maverick, at Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital. Maverick had fluid in his lungs so Julie and her fiancé couldn’t take him home right away. "We live in Burlington, an hour away in traffic. Having to breastfeed Maverick every two hours made it impossible for us to go back home." So they found solace and a warm place to take a break at the RMHC Toronto Family Room inside the hospital walls. Four days later, Maverick was out of danger and was able to go home with his parents; and Julie had an idea. "When I was alone in my room at the Ronald McDonald Family Room, I was very grateful and thought to myself: I must do something in return." One year later, that idea became a reality.

As the birthday of her now very healthy, chatty and active 1-year-old approached, Julie decided to throw a special kind of party. "Maverick was already spoiled with toys he mostly didn't even care about, so we decided to have a fundraising party." Julie researched fundraising starter tips online and received some handy ones from RMHC. The former social service student says she posted a picture of Maverick during his stay in the NICU on Instagram, inviting people to donate money or toys to RMHC, and passed around the word to family and friends.
"When everyone sang happy birthday, it was hard to keep a dry eye"
The festivities took place at Emma's Back Porch, a well-known eatery in Burlington, with a patio overlooking the lake. Parents, friends, and employees of the restaurant showed up with donations of all kinds. Julie put a bristol board with Maverick's story up on display and set up an Ipad to allow for online donations, which helped with the worry of handling people's money. A total of $1,035 was donated in Maverick's name to help the 14 Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. "When everyone sang happy birthday, it was hard to keep a dry eye" Julie recalls. That day, she made another decision: That she would donate every year on Maverick's birthday so she could tell him the whole story one day.

Since Maverick’s fundraiser, Julie has realized that organizing charity events is something she really enjoys doing. When asked if her experience changed her, Julie responded that it’s given her the ambition to go back to school to get a degree focused on organizing charity events and planning fundraising activities. With courage, empathy and a whole lot of generosity, the Lucarelli family has paved an inspiring path in the art of giving back.

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