When we arrived, we were blessed to find the Ronald McDonald House. When your child is ill, “home” is the place you want to be. At the House you’ll find warm, friendly faces to great you and chats at the kitchen table with others who understand. Often words aren’t necessary as a mom to mom smile can warm the soul. The Ronald McDonald House is a place of support, comfort, and security.
Even though the House was full with a waiting list on our return visits, it was comforting to know that area hotels offer special rates for Ronald McDonald House families.
We are so grateful for the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester. Thank you to the volunteers, staff, and caring people who donate to the Ronald McDonald House. It is people like you who make the Ronald McDonald House all that it is.
While our future is uncertain (our youngest child was recently diagnosed with the same condition as Jennifer), God willing, the Ronald McDonald House will be there for us when we need to return to Rochester.Thank you so much for being our home when we are so far from ours.
God Bless,Marvin, Lynn, Jennifer and Breanne
From our home in Chicago, we came to Mayo Clinic; looking for a second opinion, seeking hope. When we first arrived, the Ronald McDonald House was full with a waiting list. This was difficult. Then, we got a call – they had a room for us! The House was a true blessing. It was just a short walk to the hospital so we could be at Danny’s bedside in only a few minutes.
At the House, Danny enjoyed Child Life programs like crafts and a Hollidazzle parade. But his favorite was Bingo! Our most difficult day was Thanksgiving. We had never spent a holiday away from our other children. But the House made the day very special for us with delicious food and great company.
We recently returned for surgery to remove Danny’s tumor and we were relieved to return to the Ronald McDonald House again. It was so comforting to see the familiar faces. Thank you for helping our “home away from home.”
The Host Family, Chicago, Ilinois
Our son Nathan was born December 19th, 2008. He was eleven weeks premature and the left ventricle in his heart was missing. He spent a little over 4 months in the hospital getting strong. He’s had to return to the hospital twice this year.
It also was wonderful to have the support of the caring staff and other parents that I met when times were rough. I truly never felt alone in my journey. The doctors and nurses told me how important being present meant to Nathan, and I know it was only possible because of the loving support of my family and the Ronald McDonald House.
Our 8 year old daughter Alia has had a hard time dealing with her little brother’s illness. The Child Life Program has been so good for her. She can confide in another adult about her fears without having to worry about Mom being upset. Both of my children have made a connection with many people here and they are able to go them if they need support.
I have had to quit working to take care of Nathan and without the Ronald McDonald House, it would have been extremely difficult financially. The donations of food, laundry soap and taxi vouchers all made a huge difference.
Nathan still has some hospital stays and surgeries in his future and we will definitely be coming back to our “home away from home”.
Michelle, Nathan’s Mom
Chris (dad), Devone – age 12, Alia – age 8
Throughout her short life, Bre has been burdened by many health issues. One night when she was only a couple weeks old, she began gasping for air, her face turned pale and her lips blue. After several tests we were told she had severe acid reflux, severe enough that she was choking. When Bre turned five, she complained that her hands and feet were “falling asleep”. We would often have to pull off her little shoes to massage her feet. Bre also suffers from fatigue and struggles because her body is unable to cool itself properly. This is a real problem for a little lady from Alabama!
Then in March, 2008, Bre had a seizure while getting ready for school. There is no greater feeling of helplessness than when your child is suffering and no one can give you a reason why. This is what finally brought us to the Mayo Clinic.
Minnesota is a long way from home but we would take her to the moon and back if it meant making Bre better. It took us 3 days to drive to Minnesota! Gas, food and lodging expenses mounted up quickly! We just don’t know how we would have managed without the Ronald McDonald House. When you’re stressed and anxious about a sick child you can’t think of anything else. At the Ronald McDonald House, Bre was greeted everyday by kind, smiling faces. After a long day of tests, the fun activities at the House let her relax and just be a kid. And the House dinners hosted by the community let us meet other parents facing similar challenges.
Our 5 day stay turned into 16! These were terribly long days away from Bre’s little brother who stayed in Alabama with Grandma and Grandpa. But the Dr.’s at Mayo Clinic were wonderful. They have Bre’s best interest at heart. After enduring many tests and visits to medical specialists, Bre was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that impacts her nervous system.
We’ll return to Mayo soon to seek more answers. When we do, we know the Ronald McDonald House will welcome us with open arms. It is truly Bre’s “Home Away From Home”!
Rachel (Bre’s mom), Cullman, Alabama
Our six-year-old son Ty captivates a room with his outgoing, charming personality, his caring spirit and his big brown eyes. Ty loves people and has a heart the size of Texas. He enjoys being outdoors wearing his boots or anything camo, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling, rodeos, dancing with his 2 year old sister, singing with every song that comes on the radio, reading the bible, praying and going to church.
Ty’s growth slowed dramatically after age 3 and his health continues to gradually decline. Ty is suffering with repeated kidney stone formation, pain management, severe stomach pain causing inability to eat and drink, uncontrollable asthma and infections throughout his entire body. The progression and intensity of his illness and constant addition of new symptoms have required specialty care available only at the Mayo Clinic.
The emotional well-being of a child living with such an illness depends on the ability for them to do things that children should be doing…laughing, playing, daydreaming, coloring, playing games and connecting and spending time with other children.
The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) makes this possible. While away from home, away from school and away from family, the RMH nurtures Ty’s spirit and provides our family with a place of absolute comfort after overwhelming stress, pain and trauma that no human being, especially a child, should have to endure.
The RMH has computers to play on and movie & Bingo nights where all the children sit together and connect like family. The RMH also organize trips to the Rochester Honkers Baseball games, Minnesota Vikings game and Motocross National Races. Ty has had many “firsts” in his life at the Ronald McDonald House… first-ever ride in a limo, meeting Ronald McDonald face-to-face and seeing and playing in snow for the first time.
Twice in 2007 and for more than half of the months in 2008, the four of us have called the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester home.
Thank you to the volunteers and lifelong friends we’ve met from all around the world. You have helped nurture and maintain our spirit. You have left a lasting impression and wonderful memories upon all of us. We thank God each day that the RMH is the rock that has been provided for so many families. The Ronald McDonald House truly is a light among the darkness.
The Dahlstrom Family, Austin, Texas