(SOURCE) A Bristol teen who delivered a trailer full of aluminum can tabs to the Ronald McDonald House in 2014 is now attempting to collect 1 million tabs.

Seth Bayles’ latest drive is in support of the campaign to raise $15 million to expand his family’s home-away-from-home in Rochester, Minn.

Seth’s family stays at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester periodically when he goes to see specialists at the Mayo Clinic, something he has done since 2009.

He has a rare autoimmune disease that causes his immune system to attack the fat cells in his body. There is no cure, but doctors at the clinic are working to halt its progression.

It saddened Seth to learn while more than 800 families are able to stay there each year, another 1,000 have to be turned away due to lack of space.

“They want to add more rooms,” Seth, 16, said. “It’s an amazing place. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”

Bayles wants to collect 795 pounds of aluminum tabs “to give back” to the cause. He has collected more than 400 pounds so far and hopes to meet his goal by setting up a drop-off booth at Bristol Progress Days, July 7-9. He will also have a “pop tab” float in the parade on July 9.

Those who cannot attend the event can drop tabs off at the Benson Corners Antique Mall on Highway just west of Highway 45, or Glazed Bakery on Highway 50 in Paddock Lake.

Peggy Eliott, executive director of Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, said the plans are to add 28 rooms to accommodate 1,500 families per year. Community kitchens, the commercial kitchen, and both indoor and outdoor play areas will be expanded as well. The project requires $4.5 million to get underway.

Families kept together

Seth’s mother Julie Bayles said the Ronald McDonald House helped keep their family together.

“Disease is no respecter of persons,” Julie said. “No one thinks they are going to have to need that. This life of chronic disease has a potential to tear a family apart. What a blessing it is to have a place dedicated to the whole family.” 

All six of Seth’s siblings have stayed at Ronald McDonald House at one time or another.

“They always have something for you to do,” Gabe Bayles, 11, said.

He and his brother Luke, 10, especially liked to play with the wooden train set and held a drive of their own to collect more trains for the kids who stay there.

Socks raise awareness

To raise awareness, Seth has also sold red-and-white-striped socks for $3 per pair. Teachers and athletic teams have all worn “Seth socks” to support his cause.

Seth is inviting the community to wear their socks to Hansen Park in Bristol for a “Night of Celebration” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 26. Socks are also still available by contacting Seth through his Facebook page Seth’s Journey.

The Ronald McDonald House is so touched by his efforts they are sending a film crew to Bristol June 23 to record his story and the support he has garnered from the community.

 

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