“So today’s event...we partnered with the San Francisco Zoo to put together a field trip for the Ronald McDonald Houses of San Francisco and Stanford to give the families that time away from the treatment or what they’re going through with the different illnesses,” explained Streater.
|WR Rod Streater spends some time with one of the young kids from Ronald McDonald House. Photo by Tony Gonzales|
Giving back to the families dealing with illnesses hit home for Streater. “To be able to give back, it’s on a personal level,” said Streater. “My mom is dealing with cancer – it’s terminal – and I’ve seen the stages she’s gone through, the struggle and the fight that she’s gone through, so to be able to give back to these families is what really motivates me to do this event. I wanted to give them a day away from treatments and the hospital, just to have a fun day planned for them.”
Streater worked with the Ronald McDonald Houses knowing what it’s like to watch a family member fight disease. “Today is a really special event. On top of all the really wonderful services that Ronald McDonald House provides for the families, this is kind of a special treat to be here with The Rod Streater Foundation and have a great day at the San Francisco Zoo,” said Bri Seoane, Family Services Director at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. “As you can imagine, it’s a really stressful time in their lives, so anytime they can kind of do something out of the norm is great. To be able to come to a zoo is a huge treat, to be able to do something as a family together, is really important.”
The Ronald McDonald House provides important services for families going through the fight of their lives. However, most of those amenities are within the actually Ronald McDonald House, so Streater’s field trip brought out smiles on the kids’ and parents’ faces. “Just to see their smiles and to see their reaction really made the whole event worth it. It made my day to see how the kids responded to the animals,” said Streater.
The San Francisco Zoo was honored to have Streater and his foundation bring the group to visit. “We are so thrilled to have Rod Streater here today,” said Timothy Wu, Vice President of Philanthropy of the San Francisco Zoological Society. “A huge part of our mission is teaching kids to appreciate nature, teaching kids to love animals.”
WR Rod Streater helps feed the porcupine during the Wildlife Theater presentation at the San Francisco Zoo. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Wu could see the impact Streater and the zoo experience were having on the kids. “I’ve seen two reactions today – the sort of wonder and amazement when the kids met Rod and then more wonder and amazement when they came into the zoo and met the animals,” said Wu. “They come here and they see someone they respect and then they see these animals. What I love to see when kids come to the zoo is they learn something that they didn’t know and they learn that it’s exciting. That for me is a bigger goal because they learn that learning things can be exciting and it’s important and it’s fun.”
The opportunity for the kids and their families to have a fun day away from their daily challenges meant a great deal. “To be able to come to a zoo is a huge treat, to be able to do something as a family together, is really important,” said Seoane. “Not all the families are able to leave the house just because of the condition of their children, so for those that are able to get away and maybe are able to take the siblings and have a special day with them I think is really important. It reminds them what normal life would be like.”
Streater hopes he was able to give the group an experience they will remember. “I hope to give them an experience they’ll never forget,” said Streater. “As a kid, I would have loved to hang out with an NFL player and go to the zoo. I hope they just have a fun day away from all that they’re going through and just can forget about the bad times and look forward to the good times.”