Ronald McDonald House of Memphis serves hundreds of families
each year and while each of their stories is a little different, one thing
remains the same for all of them – their child has cancer and their lives will
never be the same again.
Ivy and Elizabeth’s story began in late May when Ivy developed
a fever and rash. Doctors initially though she had a simple viral infection,
but blood tests soon revealed a much different problem. They knew she was
predisposed to develop Leukemia because she has Down syndrome and the tests
confirmed their suspicions.
By early June, Elizabeth and Ivy were staying at Ronald
McDonald House of Memphis while Ivy received treatment at St. Jude.
After a short period of adjustment, the Atlanta, Texas
natives were starting to think of Ronald McDonald House as their second home.
“It’s nice to be only a short car ride away from the
hospital,” Elizabeth said. “We really like it here. We have a space to call our
own when we are away from the hospital at nights. The first thing I did was
cook us a home-cooked meal. After nearly a month of fast food, it was nice to
be able to finally cook something.”
They quickly found that kitchens, bedrooms and other amenities
of home are not the only benefits of staying at Ronald McDonald House.
“The support system here is outstanding. Everyone is so willing
to just sit and talk with you and help you out with whatever problem you may
have,” she said. “The other parents staying here really know what you’re going
through and can help you through the hard times.”
When they have free time away from the hospital, Ivy loves
playing in the specially designed toddler room and swinging outside on the
playgrounds when the weather cooperates, she said.
“Personally I really enjoy playing in the monthly bingo
nights that the volunteer groups bring in,” Elizabeth said. “It is something I
use to do back at home and it’s nice to have a way to relax every once in a
“Our time here at Ronald McDonald House has been a wonderful
experience in the middle of a trying time. It’s truly amazing here.”