When Charles Ruma was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, he had only one thought on his mind: giving back.
With the help of the The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Ruma beat cancer.
“I was treated at the James at Ohio State, and throughout that process … I wanted a way to give back to the University,” Ruma says. “What they did for me was huge.”
While brainstorming ideas, Ruma, owner of Powell-based Virginia Homes, knew he had to come up with a creative solution.
“At the time, we were in a downturn in the industry. Writing a check sizeable enough to make a difference just wasn’t possible,” says Ruma. “The only way I knew how was to build a home and give the proceeds.”
That’s how Ruma’s Home for Hope project was born. The first Home for Hope, constructed by Virginia Homes and completed in 2011, was sold at a live auction and raised $65,000 – a good amount, Ruma says, but he dreams of donating even more.
To that end, Virginia Homes is breaking ground on a new Home for Hope in April in the new Wellington Reserve neighborhood, part of the Dublin City School district.
“I hope to double that number this time around,” Ruma says. “We’re going to start digging the basement in April and we expect to close in October. It’s in a new community in Dublin, so we expect to see a lot of activity.”
The 3,570-square-foot home has four bedrooms and three and a half baths. Other features include a two-story great room and a three-car garage.
Both Homes for Hope are designed to encourage energy-efficient, healthy lifestyles. Ruma has intently studied new technologies that enable families to live better lives.
“We really have learned a great deal about indoor air quality, something we kind of took for granted before,” Ruma says. “The reality is that 99 percent of pollutants are indoors – and that’s where we spend most of our time. … We put in special air and water filtration systems and that helps us to limit the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in our homes.”
Ruma has been grateful for the outpouring of support the project has received from family, Virginia Homes employees and the community.
“We’ve really had an amazing amount of support throughout the entire process,” he says. “My family is proud to be a part of it and help wherever they can.”
WWith the real estate market bouncing back, Ruma is more hopeful than ever that he’ll see his goals become a reality. He hopes raise $130,000 through the sale of the second Home for Hope. The home is valued at $635,400.
“My motto has always been – especially when it comes to cancer – ‘It’s so imperative that we all give back.’”
Lauren Andrews is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.