Childhood cancer is never routine and it
takes its toll on the whole family, but having to travel hundreds of miles from
home for your child’s treatment can make things feel impossible.
Within days of learning from doctors
that her son Luke had cancer, Marie Hutzelmann packed up her things and headed
The Hammond, La., native said the diagnosis
was scary, but when she arrived at Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, she
immediately felt at home. Most importantly, she knew that she was somewhere
where Luke would be comfortable.
“It’s been heartening to be around other
kids and families who are going through a similar situation. It’s definitely
tough being far from home and family, but Ronald McDonald House provides such a
warm and comforting environment, so I can focus on Luke and not worry about a
safe place to stay while we are getting treatment at St. Jude,” Marie said.
“When we come back to the Ronald
McDonald House after a long day of appointments, the bright colorful walls and
the hallways filled with huge stuffed animals always help brighten Luke’s
spirits, which as a mom with a sick kid, makes me feel better.”
Marie said she hasn’t really felt like
cooking with everything that has been going on, so she really appreciates when
they come back to the Ronald McDonald House and having a warm meal, prepared by
local volunteer groups waiting for them.
Families can’t always bring all their
comforts from home, but Ronald McDonald House of Memphis tries to fill in the
“Luke also loves when the therapy dogs
are here to play with the kids,” she said. “We both really miss our pets back
“It is a challenge not being in the
comfort of your own four walls and being out of work,” she said. “Ronald
McDonald House tries to take all the worry away from you, so you don't have to
stress out about things like being away from home, losing an income, because
you are already stressed out with the cancer diagnosis.”