Local medical group partners with McDonald House

Capital Region Special Surgery to sell hearts through Valentine's Day

A Slingerlands medical group is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region for an annual fundraiser in hopes of bolstering donations and widening the campaign's net.

From now through Feb. 14, red and gold paper hearts are available for purchase at the practices of Capital Region Special Surgery and other participating business around the area. The hearts are sold for $1 and $5.

This will be the first time CRSS has partnered with the Ronald McDonald House, said CRSS spokeswoman Sarah Nicole Mahoney.

We feel like we've established ourselves enough that it's really time to start giving back in a big way, she said. "The money goes a long way and it stays local."

Sara Scheid, a pediatric specialist, spearheaded the formation of the partnership. She operates at Albany Medical and is familiar with the help the organization can provide to families with sick children.

"We are delighted to be partnering with the Ronald McDonald House," Scheid said in a statement. "This is an admirable cause and one that I am honored to be a part of."

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region Executive Director Jeff Yule emphasized that although the organization is partnered with McDonald's, the group does not send any money out of the area.

"All of the money that we raise stays right here in the market," he said. "It's a terribly, terribly important fundraiser for us."

The drive has developed from bringing in $8,000 10 years ago to more than $100,000 last year. In tough economic times when large corporate gifts tend to diminish, the support of individual donors becomes even more important, Yule said. In 2009, a decrease in the size of the average gift was offset by an increase in donors, for example.

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