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The Capps family at Ronald McDonald House
The Capps family has called Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham home more times than they can count. (The Capps Family)

Since their daughter Cate was two, the Capps family has been making the 167-mile trek from Elba, down in South Alabama, up to Birmingham for therapy at Children’s of Alabama. Fortunately, her therapists recommended staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Birmingham when they’re in town, and that changed everything. Keep reading for their story and to find out how you can get involved.

Meet Cate Capps

Cate Capps
Cate Capps has grown so much since she first came to RMHCA (The Capps)

When Nichole and Colby Capps’ daughter Cate was born with cerebral palsy (CP), they had no idea what a central role Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama would play in their lives. 

Starting when Cate was two, the family began driving 167 miles to and from Birmingham on a regular basis for her to attend daily physical therapy sessions at Children’s of Alabama. 

She participates in a program called Constraint Induced Movement Therapy designed for children who have had a stroke or who have CP, like Cate. The goal is to strengthen her right arm and improve coordination to make simple daily tasks like eating, writing or putting up her hair more manageable. 

As you can imagine, driving three hours each way for daily therapy would be a non-starter for any family, even if the therapy itself wasn’t exhausting—but it is. Afterwards, Cate regularly begs “Can we go back to the room and take a nap?”

Until they had a place to stay in Birmingham, taking a nap afterwards wasn’t possible, as the Capps had to drive down to Alex City where they would stay with friends to shorten the drive. Still, it was an hour and a half away.

The Ronald McDonald House has become the Capps family’s home

Families become friends at RMHCA, Ronald McDonald House
So many people the Capps family has met at RMHCA have become like family. (RMHCA)

Luckily, Cate’s therapists recommended staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and the Capps family never looked back. 

As she’s gotten older, the physical and mental demands of therapy have only gotten more challenging for Cate. But luckily, the Ronald McDonald House has become not only a home away from home but an important part of her success.

“Cate is very aware of her CP and it’s something she struggles with. So the House has become her home. She doesn’t like going to therapy but she knows she needs it. She looks forward to being at the House and I see that it takes the anxiety off of her, which helps her focus on her therapy. She knows she is loved here.”

Nichole Capps

Help other families like the Capps. Support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama today.

The Ronald McDonald House is more than just a place to stay

RMHCA dining room, Ronald McDonald House
Families eating together in RMHCA’s dining room. (RMHCA)

Not only has it been a lifesaver having a place to stay that’s close to Cate’s therapists, but the Capps have developed friendships with other families who stay at the House—some whose children also participate in constraint therapy—as well as some staff members. 

Nichole said her husband Cody loves staying at the house because he feels like they are being cared for as a family.

“Every year, we look forward to coming and seeing these people. I love the camaraderie we share with other parents who understand what it’s like to have a child with a disability or a child that has to have frequent doctor appointments. They have become like family.”

Nichole Capps

You can bring comfort + joy to families like the Capps this holiday season

Cate Capps on a swing
Cate Capps on a swing. (The Capps)

Donor support of the Ronald McDonald House has saved the Capps family more than $35,000 over the 180 nights (averaging 10 visits a year, some a week or more at a time) they have called the House home since Cate was two. And that’s just one family whose life has been impacted. 

“What people need to know about donating to the Ronald McDonald House is that they’re doing more than just giving money or donating items. They are giving parents a peace of mind. When you’re a parent and you’re having to do something daily that is a struggle…when you know that you have a hot meal or you need toothpaste and you forgot it because you’re stressed, it’s here, you don’t have to worry.” 

Nichole Capps

On Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, November 29), RMHCA will be sharing gratitude videos on their socials: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn—check it out. 

Support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama today: make a donation, serve a meal, volunteer or learn about other ways to get involved.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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