by Jan Gunter
Families stay with us when their children are in the hospital. The most common diagnosis of these children is premature birth. That means we see lots of precious little babies on their way home after weeks or often months of being in the neonatal intensive care unit. And it also means we see lots of parents who are going back and forth to the hospitals every day to be with their tiny babies.
Last year Emma and Talia Stavchansky were two of those babies. Here they are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in those early days.
Sometimes families stay with us in the Ronald McDonald House while their babies get big and strong enough to go home. Sometimes they hang out in the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms inside the hospitals at Dell Children’s Medical Center and the St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas. But wherever those families are, we are there to provide a little bit of normalcy.
Here’s some of what our NICU families have to say:
“Having babies in the NICU, while also taking care of my three-year-old son, was an emotional rollercoaster. Just knowing that there was a comfortable and convenient place where I could go was a huge help.” – Rachel Stavchansky
When Bobbi Neusch found out she and her husband could stay at at the Ronald McDonald House she said it was “like a Mack truck had been lifted off my shoulders.”
“I love the people and the feeling of togetherness you get while there. They really make you feel like family. I was surprised to see how nice the facilities were. The rooms were gorgeous, the dining area and kitchen was very nice and having a place to do laundry for free was amazing!” – Jessie McAvin
And here are some Family Room stories on video. Click the image to see the videos:
We are very clear about our mission. We don’t provide medical care. We do enable parents to have a comfortable place near that medical care so when the child needs specialty care, the parents can get some sleep and some good food nearby.
Volunteers staff the Family Rooms every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., so if you are looking for a great way to make a difference for a lot of families, please learn more about how to become a Family Room volunteer!
We are glad to know that whenever children arrive into this world a bit too early, we are here to make life easier on their parents until they get to take them home – like Lila’s parents did.
Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.