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Ronald McDonald House ‘Shuttles’ Around Big Hugs For Sick Children

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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—You’re seeing something new on the streets of Baltimore, and it’s helping sick children and their families.

Ron Matz has more on “the big hug” coming from the Ronald McDonald House.

It’s called The Big Hug. The new Ronald McDonald House shuttle can transport four wheelchairs and 16 passengers, taking young patients and families to six Baltimore hospitals.

“The families don’t have to worry about parking, driving through the city, unloading their child. We’re door-to-door service. They just get on the shuttle in front of the Ronald McDonald House and get dropped off right at the hospital,” said Sandy Pagnotti, Ronald McDonald House CEO.

Volunteer Gary Muller was driving Wednesday.

“I drive the shuttle on an as-needed basis. My wife does the front desk for lunch duty, so this is near and dear,” Muller said. “This is really nice. Everyone sees it. Before we had a white shuttle. This one they know who we are and what we do, and that’s really good.”

Francine Campbell, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is riding The Big Hug with her son Zion, who has suffered four strokes.

“Zion is doing much better. We’re on the road to recovery. It’s been a long journey, but we are much better than where we were,” Campbell said.

“The House That Love Built” is more than just a slogan.

“This is truly a blessing. The house has been wonderful in our lives. This is the house love has built,” Campbell said.

Last year’s Red Shoe Shuffle, a 5K Run and Walk, raised the $75,000 to pay for the new shuttle.

“Last year we raise over $250,000 with the Red Shoe Shuffle, so we were able to buy the shuttle and add a surplus to our operating funds,” Pagnotti said.

The 36 rooms at the Ronald McDonald House are full, and there’s always a waiting list.

This year’s Red Shoe Shuffle benefiting the Ronald McDonald House is April 6. Three thousand people are expected.

“The more, the merrier,” Pagnotti said.

For more information, click here.

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