Family Stories

Page 2 of 14

“I Am Home Here at RMHC Memphis”

When Nadine, a 23-year-old mother, took her only child, 6-week-old Braxton, to the hospital in California, a CT scan showed a large growth inside his head. They flew to Los Angeles, where surgeons performed an 8-hour surgery, during which they were able to remove 90% of the mass. And so their journey began.

After release from the hospital, Braxton spent Christmas with mom and dad at home in Apple Valley, CA. They connected with St. Jude Children’s Hospital; and just 3 days into the new year, they arrived in Memphis and moved into Ronald McDonald House.  Nadine says, “The hardest thing is to know you do not have control and just to have faith in doctors.” 

Braxton likes to entertain people, and he loves giraffes, especially the stuffed giraffe that hangs from his stroller. His parents took him to the zoo here, but he slept through the exhibits. Most of the time, it is just Nadine and Braxton. He has finished 4 months of chemotherapy for his brain tumor, a Choroid plexus carcinoma, and he must have up to 5 months more treatment.

Nadine says, “You guys, both the residents and the staff, are my family away from home.  Being able to have somewhere that you call home and not living in a hospital or hotel room is wonderful.  I am home here at RMHC Memphis.”

Nadine adds, “Paint night is fun and all the dinners are nice and appreciated. Thank you won’t cover it.  Thank you is a good start but we could not be more appreciative of what RMHC Memphis has done -  you have made our lives a little bit easier. Where am I going to make my dinner?  Where am I going to sleep?  Where are we going to stay the next 6 months?” All these questions are answered with Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.

“You guys make this a lot easier in a time that is so difficult.   It is the little things like, ‘Oh I have dish soap.’ I do not take it for granted.”

 

Posted by Lisa Haguewood at Tuesday, June 5, 2018
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St. Patrick's Day Parents' Night In

On March 16th,  we hosted our monthly Parents' Night In event.  It had a St. Patrick’s Day theme. B. Scott Duke, Corporate Program Manager, hosted trivia with the parents which was a big success.  Celtic Crossing provided food for the parents and we had an Irish band perform.  The children did St. Patrick’s crafts and enjoyed a meal of their own including Shamrock-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches.  

Posted by Lisa Haguewood at Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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Valentine's Day Parents' Night In

On Valentine’s Day, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis hosted a Parents' Night In event. The parents went to dining room A  where they were treated to a steak dinner with all the trimmings.  They were also treated to a special dessert and long stem red roses.  The steaks were donated by Charlie’s Meat Market and cooked by the Byhalia Lions Club. The Lions Club also provided and prepared the side dishes.

The kids were in dining room B.  They made their own heart-shaped pizzas, decorated cookies, enjoyed spin art, and created canvas hand art  to give to their parents.  They also visited with the Super Heroes. 

We cooked 60 steaks and 80 heart-shaped pizzas! We received many positive comments from the parents about how much they enjoyed the meal and spending time talking with other adults. The kids loved making their own pizzas and spending time with the Super Heroes.

 

Posted by Lisa Haguewood at Friday, February 16, 2018
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“They Take Care of Us, Feed Us, Spoil Us”

“A fighter who has a lot of courage and never gives up” is how Kari describes her daughter Kaylee, who adds, “Courage is the ability to do something that you never thought you would do.”

Kaylee, a teenager, and her mother, Kari, have resided at the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis since they left their home in Tulsa, OK for treatment at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Kaylee has a stage 4 aggressive high-grade glioma tumor.

Both Kaylee and Kari enjoy the House because there are no appointments and they can relax.   Kari says, “The meals which have been provided have been outstanding and not having to cook after having to be at the hospital all day is a blessing.”

Kaylee and Kari agree, “Everyone is so nice: the employees and other families.” Kari says, “This has become a family.  We were taken out of our home environment and where we live. Now we have a new family, which is very helpful.”

Kaylee wants to be a pediatric nurse someday, but for now she enjoys shopping at Target with her mother and free chocolate milk, her favorite part of the Ronald McDonald House. Her two favorite movies, she says, are completely different from each other: “The Avengers:  Age of Ultron,” a Marvel superhero movie, and “Moana,” an animated Walt Disney film.   

Kari concludes, “We are very, very thankful and very, very blessed. We do not have to worry financial wise and my parents are here with us.  My husband visits on weekends to see Kaylee.  We appreciate not having to worry about where we are staying during this time. They take care of us, feed us, spoil us.”

Posted by Lisa Haguewood at Thursday, December 28, 2017
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“Enjoy All the Little Moments”

Matthew, age 4, says he wants to be a police officer when he grows up and then adds, “I have leukemia.”  His ever-inspiring mom, Robin confirms his diagnosis:   Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  She says that Matthew is “joy and light.”  They are 7 weeks into this journey that started in their hometown of Brownsville, TN.  Robin says, “He has been in God’s hands all this time.   God protected him and brought him this far.” 

 Wearing a superhero shirt and Spiderman buttons, Matthew brings plastic kitchen toys to Robin as she is interviewed.  Matthew says his favorite part of the Ronald McDonald House is the outside playground.  He also loves Bingo games at the House.   Last time, he was repeating the numbers back each time they were called.

Robin says about herself, her husband Chris , and their son Matthew, “We love all the groups that come to cook for us.  It is such a blessing that we do not have to worry about meals and have the pantry available at all times. If we were at home, we would be isolated; but here there are activities so that Matthew is not secluded.  In your weakest moment, you do not have to worry about the little things.”

“We do not look at Matthew’s cancer as a bad thing because we know we would not have been able to have these experiences and meet these people otherwise.   We have been able to meet and get to know other families here with a common bond and connection.  We are making lifelong friends with them and their kids.  We can encourage and lift others up.  If I can share my story, maybe I can encourage someone else.  Enjoy all the little moments. Courage goes hand in hand with faith and having hope.  Matthew has leukemia and a good prognosis, but my heart is with the families that do not have a good prognosis.”

Posted by Lisa Haguewood at Monday, December 18, 2017
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