When soccer teams across Alamance County lace up their cleats, it wont be over your average soccer socks. No, these red and white striped stockings have a much greater calling—to raise money and awareness for Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
Charlotte Ward, a Mebane-area soccer player, started the #SockTheHouse fundraiser to give back to a place that has meant a lot to her family.
When Charlotte was born, she was diagnosed with tracheomalacia. Her parents were referred to UNC Children’s, far from their home in Wilmington. From there, they learned about the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
“We were so impressed by the hospitality and the nurturing spirit displayed by the staff,” said Charlotte’s father Jason. “Volunteers providing meals were beyond helpful and encouraging—It really feels like a home away from home.”
And while Charlotte’s condition improved and the Wards no longer needed the House’s services, they learned that their journey with the House was far from over. When Jason’s newborn niece, Rachel began having uncontrollable seizures shortly after birth, her family went to UNC in search of answers, and again, found the Ronald McDonald House.
“The overwhelming sense of support provided by the staff stands out,” said Jason on his experiences at the House. “Especially once I came back several years later to watch my sister go through the pain of waiting to find answers and treatment options for my niece.”
After seeing the many ways the House supported her family, Charlotte had an entrepreneurial idea. “I have played soccer since I was in kindergarten, and just love the sport,” she said. “I decided that athletes, especially soccer players, need socks, so why not give the sock thing a try.”
Charlotte said once word got out about the fundraiser, people jumped at the chance to get involved. “In fact,” she said, “one team full of teenage boys actually went to their team manager asking how they could get socks.” And soon, players from 4 to 18 were wearing the socks at games and practices.
For Charlotte, the best part of the fundraiser was seeing all the players share their stripes in support of the House.
“Other families actually came to us during the fundraiser to tell about their positive experiences with the Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “It means so much because the Ronald McDonald House helps so many families. My family believes it is one of the best charities in the world.”