My son, Michael, was always very outgoing - when he wasn't skateboarding, he was playing his guitar. Our family had a very normal life until Michael's 16th birthday.
My husband, David and I took Michael to his doctor after a bout with the stomach flu, but things soon turned to worse when we were told that Michael had stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma. It was cancer.
We were lost in our desperation, all of us, except Michael. "God is going to see me through this and I am not worried about it" Michael calmly told us.
By the time we got to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Michael could hardly stand or take a few steps without being in a lot of pain. After six weeks of grueling treatment, Michael was finally released from the hospital and we were sent to live at Ronald McDonald House®.
Ronald McDonald House® was a wonderful place to stay during the hardest time in our life.
Little did we know that the staff and the families would become such a part of our lives. No one understands you better than someone going through the same experiences as you are and with all the support, Ronald McDonald House® quickly became our “home-away-from-home."
Last year we spent the Holidays in Memphis and Christmas at Ronald McDonald House® was wonderful! Our children got to pick out gifts for us in The Santa Shop set up inside the House and we also got to choose presents for Michael. On Christmas Eve, my husband, David and I helped play Santa, and we delivered a bag of presents to each patient and their brothers or sisters that were staying at the House as well.
By August, we finally made it through all of Michael's treatments and the results were in: Michael had no cancer in his bone marrow, and none in his blood. We were overjoyed.
We will soon return to Memphis again, and one thing we know is, that we will always stop by “The House That Love Built”. Each time we come back to Ronald McDonald House® we meet more and more families that we will carry with us as friends for all of our lives. They are right there with you in your best and worst of times. There are so many beautiful people that give of themselves at Ronald McDonald House®.
We have always felt so loved there. From all of us that had to endure the tragedy of having a critically ill child: thank God there is a place like Ronald McDonald House®. There simply is no better place.
- Kimberly (Michael’s Mom)