Family Stories

From Barbados to Ronald McDonald House® of Memphis


From Barbados to Memphis, with a brief stop in New York, 14-year-old Carrie-Lynn and her family have finally found their “home-away-from-home” at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis. 

Carrie-Lynn and her parents Valerie and Carson visited a number of doctors in Barbados before she was eventually diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2012.  Doctors in Barbados sent the family to New York for treatment.  They were only there for a short time when the doctors recommended the family come to Memphis for treatment at St. Jude.

The family has stayed at Ronald McDonald House for about six months. It’s very challenging for the family to be so far away from home – and in a country different than their own – but living at Ronald McDonald House has made their difficult experience a little easier.

“You don’t have to think about food, you don’t have to think about anything, and that is phenomenal for us,” Valerie said. “When we were first coming here that was a big concern on our minds:  How are we going to sustain ourselves for a long period of time while we’re not working?”

Thankfully Valerie’s employer in Barbados was very accommodating and with access to high speed internet at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, she’s been able to telecommute during the family’s stay here.

Carrie-Lynn has some new challenges along the road to recovery.  One of the side effects of the aggressive treatment that Carrie-Lynn needed to treat her AML was damage to her organs and she now needs a kidney and lung transplant.  As a family, they’re facing this challenge with strength, courage and optimism. And they’ve also learned that they can lean on the other families that stay at Ronald McDonald House for support and companionship.

“We love it here because of the camaraderie with the other parents. We get together in the kitchen and chat, talk, compare recipes, and do stuff to try and get our minds off things. You really feel like you’re amongst family here, it’s very comfortable,” she said.

Posted by John Parie at 9:29 AM
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