Seth the “Pop Tab Kid” Story

When the search for answers to Seth Bayles mysterious illness brought him to Mayo Clinic back in 2009, it was the beginning of not only treatment to halt the progression of his rare autoimmune disorder, but also his family’s special relationship with their “home-away-from home” while in Rochester – the Ronald McDonald House.

Seth’s family credits RMH with helping to keep their family close, allowing them to stay near Mayo Clinic, and providing much welcomed comfort, support, and hope. Over the past several years of Seth’s treatments, they’ve been grateful for every opportunity when they were able to move from the waiting list to the House and have developed close bonds with staff, volunteers and other families they have met during their visits to Rochester. After receiving so much from the House, Seth wanted to give back – and was inspired to join in the collection and donation of aluminum pop tabs to the House. “While our family was staying at the House, years ago…we noticed people coming into the lobby dropping off tabs. Seth got the idea that this was something he could do. He knew he could tell others about the importance of collecting the pop tabs. Little did we know how fun it would be to get the community involved in helping him to give back to his home away from home,” said Seth’s mother Julie Bayles.

The Ronald McDonald House collects pop tabs all year round as an ongoing fundraiser.  Ronald McDonald House accepts them, stores them up in a designated area and then takes them to their local recycler to cash them in. The money is used to offset the expense of running the Rochester Ronald McDonald House.

Fondly recognized as “the pop tab kid”, Seth has encouraged his entire community in Bristol, Wisconsin, to join in the effort. Over the years, he’s delivered hundreds of pounds of pop tabs to the House. When Seth heard about the launch of the Love Tremendously, Hope Exceedingly expansion campaign that would nearly double the size of the current House – he set an even more ambitious goal – a quest to collect and deliver a million aluminum pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House. Through the efforts of social media and incredible energy and enthusiasm, Seth met and actually exceeded his goal in just two months time. “Pop tabs of course help the Ronald McDonald House tangibly but it also has enabled others to get involved and “rally around Seth” for a great cause,” said Bayle’s. “Anyone at most any age can pull a tab off a can. It creates a way for others to do something to show Seth they care. It’s been incredible to meet others, share this bond and feel the love represented in the giving of these tabs!”

Seth and his family are asking others to help by collecting pop tabs and also consider making a monetary donation that will go towards the much needed expansion to the House. On average the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, MN serves approximately 900 families every year from across the country and around the world. In 2016, over 1,000 families were turned away because the House was full and did not have room. Over the past three years alone, more than 3,000 families were turned away because of capacity constraints.

On May 4, the Ronald McDonald House launched its largest expansion in the organization’s 36-year history with announcement of plans to nearly double the capacity of the House to serve more families. In addition to collecting and donating pop tabs, Seth has set up a crowd-funding page to help facilitate online donations that will go directly to the House. “Wouldn’t it be great if the wider community would continue to collect pop tabs but also match every pop tab that Seth has brought to the House with $1.00? ” said Ronald McDonald House of Rochester Peggy Elliott, Executive Director. “This would certainly help us raise the $4 million additional we need to start construction. We need a larger Ronald McDonald House and we are so grateful to Seth, the Bayles family and the wider community for their support and help.”

Seth’s story in the following video.