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Nina Christine II

Nina & Christine

It started with a phone call. A call that no parent wants to receive. Christine’s daughter, Nina, a college student here in Providence, was very ill and in excruciating pain at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Christine was more than 7,000 miles away, working as a hospital manager on Kwajalein, a Pacific island. She made that long, arduous journey, across multiple time zones to reach her daughter. When she finally got to Nina’s bedside, Christine was physically and emotionally exhausted. She needed care herself. She needed rest and comfort.

Nina’s illness struck without warning. Nina was in such agony, her college roommates rushed her to the emergency room at Rhode Island Hospital. Nina was in the hospital for 10 days. “We had many ups and downs,” Christine says today. But Ronald McDonald House provided a constant port in the middle of a storm. “I am eternally grateful.”

“The House allowed me to stay clean and fed…I was able to gain respite in a cup of coffee or tea, and talk to some of your very kind volunteers…All in all, I feel truly blessed to have been able to receive the kind of love that the Ronald McDonald House donors and volunteers give to the families of critically ill children being treated in the area hospitals.”

Nina is doing well. She’s back in class and thriving and Christine is back at work. They are grateful for the compassion they received at RMH Providence.

Jackson Belanger 2.5 years

Belanger Family

Carissa and Julian

Dudley Family

Before she even gave birth, Carissa Dudley knew that her son, Julian, would immediately need the world-class care provided by Women & Infants hospital in Providence.  While giving birth at a specialized health-care center provided comfort, it was also created unknowns for Carissa.  She lived an hour from Providence, and worried about bonding with her newborn baby and the financial burden of driving to and from the hospital each day.

“Like many families before me and many after me, the Ronald McDonald (House) helped me.  Not only was it a place to sleep at night, many volunteers and even other families were great support systems”.  For 37 days, Julian gained strength while Carissa built relationships with other parents, enjoyed home cooked meals, and most importantly, held and rocked her new bundle of joy.

Carissa is grateful for the care she received at the House while her son received the care he needed at the NICU: “the Ronald McDonald House is …like a load off your back in a tough time”.  And if you are wondering how Julian is doing today, this picture says it all.  He is home, happy, and sporting bow ties too.

Julian
Kiah Goettlich's Road to Recovery

Goettlich Family

Kiah Goettlich’s mother, Bridgett, was desperate for help as her once active daughter was no longer able to get out of bed.  Bridgett recalled that “for 6 years we visited dozens of doctors seeking relief.”

The Goettlich family found hope in Providence in the form of a specialist at one of our world-class healthcare centers.  Kiah and her family traveled from Montana to Providence to meet with a doctor who not only diagnosed her condition as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, but eased her pain.  Kiah’s mother reflected that “It would not have been financially possible for us to get this life-changing treatment, and pay for food and lodging for several weeks, without the wonderful hospitality of the Ronald McDonald House.”

The House enabled Kiah and her family to make the nearly 2,300 mile trek to receive the treatment that would enable Kiah to regain her active lifestyle and move forward with her life.  “Kiah could barely walk through her high school graduation ceremony.  Today, she is a pre-med student and doing well.”  That is what RMH Providence is all about – providing families with an opportunity to stay steps away from the hospital so their children can heal and return home healthy.

Conor McCreedy

McCreedy Family

The “back to school” time of the year is full of excitement and anticipation.  Conor McCreedy was looking forward to starting sixth grade and entering the middle school.

When Conor first fell ill, it seemed to be a run-of-the-mill case of strep throat.  But then the illness took an ugly turn.  Soon Conor was unable to walk, his vision deteriorated and he could no longer read or write.  He then experienced stomach pain, leg pain, and began fainting several times a day.  The seemingly ordinary illness began viciously attacking the boy’s brain and nervous system.

His parents, Jim and Maureen, searched in desperation for answers.  They visited doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital.  Finally, their anguished journey brought them from their home in New Jersey all the way to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.  Hasbro has a specialized program, unique on the East Coast, for children with Conor’s condition.

Jim and Maureen found themselves far from home, exhausted and worried, urgently needing a place to rest.  Thanks to the hospital staff, the McCreedy family learned about RMH Providence, and were able to call our House “Home” while Conor received treatment.

“The role that Ronald McDonald House plays is absolutely vital.  Conor would not be recovering but for the doctors and nurses at Hasbro.  “Our family would not have access to the Hasbro professionals but for the selfless dedication of the staff and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House.”

In the midst of the pain and confusion — when a family’s whole world has been turned upside down —RMH Providence gave the McCreedy family a gift of hope and healing.

As we embark on another September, we are pleased to share Conor has made a full recovery.

 

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Garza Family

During her 16th week of pregnancy, Alicia Garza heard the news no mother wanted to hear. Alicia learned that her son would be born with his intestines outside the abdominal wall. Knowing their son would face surgery and a long healing process after birth, Alicia and her husband joyfully welcomed their baby boy, Jorge, into the world on October 3rd. When they moved into RMH Providence after Jorge’s birth, they had no idea it would be their home for three months.

Alicia was grateful for the proximity the House provided her family. She found comfort being steps away from her hospitalized son, living in the same house as other families experiencing a medical crisis or lengthy hospitalizations, and having constant interaction with friendly volunteers and staff members who always asked about Jorge’s condition. Alicia and her husband appreciated the homemade dinners, positive environment, and a place where it “felt good to have someone listen, and have people care.”

Alicia’s experience at the House culminated on Christmas Day:

“On Christmas Day I was trying to make the best of it with my family. …That Christmas night my husband and I went back to the Ronald McDonald House …come to find a box full of gifts. How heart touching …to have them think of us… At first I didn’t think they noticed us being there so long but after that Christmas night I knew they were thinking of us all along.”

Whether families are staying at RMH Providence for 1 night, every weekend, or three months, our Mission is the same. We help families spend additional time with their hospitalized child, ease financial burdens, and provide a sense of normalcy during a difficult time. We are happy that Jorge is now at home healthy with his family.

 

Jorge's 1st Birthday

We are pleased to share that Jorge celebrated his 1st birthday and is “now a year old healthy, happy and full of life” according to his mother, Alicia.

family stories rmh providence

Robb Family

No parent should ever have to hear the words, “There’s nothing more we can do for your child.” But, Crystal Robb had to hear them not once, but twice.  That was back in May 2010 when her then two year-old son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with several rare conditions, including incurable brain cancer (PNET).

Today, Crystal shared Isaiah’s journey in recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness month.

Q: Isaiah is incredible, we all adore him at the House.  How old was he when he was diagnosed with cancer, and how is he doing today?
A: Isaiah was 2 1/2 years old. Isaiah struggles everyday. He has very good days and very bad days.  

Q: What is one thing about childhood cancer that is often not shared?
A: 46 children are diagnosed everyday. It is not rare and it can happen to anyone. The hard truth is not everyone gets a chance to grow up. When a child is diagnosed the whole family is diagnosed.  It takes the love and support from all to make it through each day because we now in for the fight of our child’s life. When your child is diagnosed you have a whole new out look on life because you never know what tomorrow will bring or if tomorrow will even come.  

Q: Coming from Pennsylvania, how did your family find out about the Ronald McDonald House of Providence?
A: Isaiah saw a surgeon at Hasbro and they told me about the house. I stopped to see the house that day unannounced and was welcomed in with open arms. I was amazed at what an amazing place it was. I never knew something like that existed. 

Q: How has the House helped you as a mother?
A: It has given me some place to call “home” It truly is my home away from home. A place where I can keep Isaiah safe, happy and in his routine.  It has given me a place to share my fears, worries, thoughts and concerns and have always been greeted with warm hearts and open ears. It has given me great emotional support and has made me feel not so alone being so far away from home.  It gives me a place to relax and unwind after very long stressful days at the hospital and doctors offices. 

Q: How has the House supported Isaiah in his fight against cancer?
A: The house has spoiled Isaiah. They have always  treated Isaiah as if he is their own son.  They  have watched Isaiah grow up. They shown Isaiah love and support. From letting him work with the staff, hanging his art work in their offices,  Isaiah being given little jobs around the house to make him feel important. His favorite is waling through the house with Sue. The sweet volunteers taking him under their wing  having him help them with all their projects. They have given him a place to take his fears away, not worry, a home to play in and be a kid, a home to recover from surgery, test and procedures, a place to know that no one will hurt him, and most of all  a place to call his home. Always being greeted with hugs, kiss, a toy, a surprise at his door. The house truly goes above and beyond to make sure Isaiah feels loved and at home. 

Q: What is Isaiah’s favorite part about staying at RMH Providence?
A: Isaiah’s has a few favorite parts about being at the house. Lucy the therapy dog that visits the house is probably top on his list. Just like everyone else Lucy and Pete go out of their way and will visit Isaiah during his whole stay and just not on their visiting days. Isaiah loves doing crafts with Deb and Dick and baking with his Sunday morning volunteer. Isaiah has also taken a real liking to collecting soda tabs and turning them in with Nicole when his gets their. It is very hard for Isaiah to just pick  one favorite has the Ronald McDonald House plays such a big part in his life. It all stays near and dear to his heart and he tells everyone about the house.

Q: I know Isaiah loves animals – what does he want to be when he is older – a vet?
A: Isaiah would like to be a hibachi chef when he grows up and work at an animal shelter so he can play with the dogs. 

family stories rmh providence

Bradford Family

Two-year-old Kavan Bradford’s parents were delighted to have him home after a stem cell transplant in Boston. But a week later, Kavan was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital after contracting CMV, a dangerous virus that can be fatal to post-transplant patients. Kavan had 25 separate IV’s, a ventilator, and nitric oxide to help save him from heart failure, lung failure, and liver failure.

As Kavan’s parents stood by his side, their five-year-old daughter, Kailyn, was also heavy on their minds. Kavan’s mother, Erin, remembers: “We were constantly at the hospital, at all hours, and sometimes needed to be there in the middle of the night for emergencies.” That’ when the Ronald McDonald House of Providence rescued the Bradford family by keeping them together during Kavan’s medical crisis. Erin shared the role the House played in both Kavan’s healing and the family’s healing; “going through it without that safe place to cry, pray, eat and sleep would have made our situation seem hopeless.”

The Bradford family is extremely grateful for the staff, volunteers, and other guests who touched their lives. They were able to eat home cooked meals for dinner, even at 2 a.m., comfort Kailyn’s worries, and relax in the family room. Our House provided the Bradford’s with hope, and fortunately Kavan is now healthy at home.

family stories rmh providence

Boothe Family

Injured in an automobile accident and rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Michael Boothe sustained a traumatic brain injury. At age 16, he underwent a craniotomy to relieve the pressure in his brain. Francie Boothe, her husband and daughter rushed to be by Michael’s side.

The Boothe family comforted Michael through his day-by-day journey to recovery, and our House comforted the family thanks to the warm and positive environment. Francie shared her experience: “everyone was unbelievable… without the Ronald McDonald House… I don’t think we could have made it through.”

Michael is growing stronger each day, and had a reverse craniotomy on Francie’s birthday in February. He continues to be “an amazing inspiration” to his family and our House is cheering for him too. The pictures above show the incredible progress Michael has made thanks to the opportunity to heal together with his family.

family stories rmh providence

Neto Family

“They say it takes a village to raise children, but it takes a team of unselfish caregivers that volunteer their valued services to families like ours,” Grandparents Nancy and Jerry Neto.

Nancy and Jerry Neto are thankful for the volunteers and staff at the Ronald McDonald House of Providence who cared for their adult daughter, Andrea, after she gave birth to twin daughters eight weeks early. Nancy and Jerry were concerned about the well-being of Andrea, her newborn twins, her young son, and her husband. “With a toddler at home along with dad, (Andrea) did not know how she would juggle the daily commute from the hospital to home and back again. She needed to be with her babies at this critical time. The availability of the Ronald McDonald House was her life saver.”

RMH Providence provided Andrea with a “home” steps away from her daughters who she cared for day in and day out. Her son and husband were able to visit the House and enjoy the backyard playground. “In the evening (Andrea’s) short walk ‘home’ gave her respite with a cozy room and good food prepared by dedicated volunteers.” Nancy and Jerry realized that our House offers more than close proximity to the hospital, it is the people and emotional support that makes our House a remarkable resource. In fact, Nancy and Jerry thanked RMH Providence for its important role in getting the twins home healthy where Andrea and her husband now enjoy three thriving children.

As parents and grandparents, Andrea, Nancy and Jerry were willing to do whatever it took for the twins to be healthy. The twins needed the exceptional medical care provided by Women & Infants Hospital as they gained strength, ate on their own, and continued to grow. Andrea needed a place to stay where she could spend additional time with her babies and care for her own health and well-being. Nancy and Jerry witnessed RMH Providence make both of these things possible. All are overjoyed that Andrea’s beautiful family is together at home, and we are too.