Cailen Rundles: Giving Back to Atlanta RMHC

Cailen Rundles, 15, of Murrayville, Georgia, wants nothing more than to give back to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities after spending countless nights at our Ronald McDonald House near Scottish Rite with his mom, Emily Burnett, since 2016. Cailen suffers from Chiari Malformation, a condition that causes brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal.

Cailen and his mother discovered The Atlanta Ronald McDonald House when he was transferred to the rehabilitation floor at Scottish Rite after he experienced shunt failure. Our House provided Emily and Cailen a place to rest while he conquered robotics therapy.

Cailen says robotics therapy “is like school… getting you ready to enter back into the real world after a traumatic injury.” The robotics therapy at Scottish Rite helps with the functionality of Cailen’s right hand. He can now fully open and close his hand again.

Cailen’s favorite things about our House are the video games and the staff. He especially loves to play the new Call of Duty with volunteers and show them how he has mastered video games with only one hand.

“The staff is amazing, and the families here are so connected!” Emily says. Cailen also enjoys Christmas time at the House. He and his mom started a tradition of collecting gifts for Santa’s Workshop as “their time to give back to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.”

“Without the Ronald McDonald House, Cailen would have never gotten the care he needed to get to be where he is today,” Emily says. Cailen describes the House as “happiness” and his mother calls it “caring.”

They appreciate everyone who devotes time to Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities. In the past, Emily has donated to the RMHC donation boxes at McDonald’s because it helped a close friend’s family. She had no idea when giving how much she was going to need RMHC.

“We have made such great friends here, who will last a lifetime,” Emily says. “It’s nice to bond with other parents who are going through similar situations. It reminds you that you aren’t alone.”

Cailen plans on continuing therapy and returning to school in February. He even plans to learn how to drive in the near future!