Michelle had seen that her son, seven years old at the time, was suffering from headaches, nausea, and other complications and took him to the hospital. A CT scan revealed a tumor in his brain.
Michelle and her son Grant arrived at Ronald McDonald House December 21, 2013 and Grant underwent surgery the day after Christmas.
“We spent Christmas here last year and it was wonderful. Grant was so excited that Santa Clause was able to even visit us here,” Michelle said. “And he brought big bags of presents!” Grant cheerfully added.
After months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments Grant is now cancer free. The family is so grateful they got to stay at the Ronald McDonald House while they were going through this difficult time.
“We just loved Ronald McDonald House. It was more like a home than any of the other places we stayed,” Michelle said. “It’s funner here!” Grant said.Michelle found herself growing close to the staff and the other families living at Ronald McDonald House. “You get so close to people, you build a family here. Not only with the other patients but the staff. When something goes wrong you can lean on them if you need to. You also have such a support system here with the families,” Michelle said.
Michelle keeps in contact with many of the families met while staying here.
“We have gotten really close to some of the families. Even though we all are slowly going home, we still keep in touch. We FaceTime, call, text and Facebook…we do it all.”
Grant’s favorite part of being here is the art and game room, and the opportunity to meet new friends. While Michelle’s favorite part was the staff and the pantry.
As the time has come to go back home Michelle is happy, yet a little anxious. After a year spent here she loved being so close to hospital and having the security of the house during her and Grant’s testing time.
“We are nervous and thrilled to be going home. After a while Ronald McDonald House becomes your security blanket, your safe zone. When we go home we will be five-and-a-half hours away. It’s not your safety net any longer. We’re not going to be two minutes away from the hospital, if anything goes wrong.”
All in all the Walters are extremely happy about going home right in time for the holidays.
“It will be wonderful being home for Christmas. There’s nothing like being in your own home; having the fireplace going, hot chocolate, apple cider, presents and of course family,” Michelle said.
Grant is especially very glad to be going home, and getting to spend time with his family during the holidays.
“I’m looking forward to waking up with the family, and getting to play with the Christmas toys together,” Grant said.
Grant and Michelle are happy to finally be going home, but they will always consider Ronald McDonald House of Memphis their “home-away-from-home.”