The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley is an integral part of our journey as a family. It has changed our lives – and continues to do so. It has enabled our three-year-old son Brady to receive the expertise and care of doctors and therapists at St. Mary’s Center for Children.
Our youngest son, Brady, was born in 2011, and his first several weeks of life were that of a “typical newborn”. Brady was then hospitalized with an undiagnosed illness and became a “failure to thrive” for reasons unknown. This was the first undiagnosed medical condition of many to follow. Brady broke numerous bones, and so we began also treating the osteoporosis in his little bones. Some of our scariest moments as parents ensued in these times and through the next months and years. We traveled to many of the best children’s hospitals for expert opinions and treatments for Brady’s conditions. Through this we discovered Dr. Betsy Clawson at St. Mary’s Center for Children in Evansville, Indiana. The RMHC of the Ohio Valley is a vital part of why Brady receives the remarkable care of Dr. Clawson and why Brady experiences success in her Intensive Feeding Therapy program.
While my husband Chad and son Brett took care of our home in Ohio, Brady and I traveled hundreds of miles to St. Mary’s Center for Children. We have stayed at the RMH periodically for months now. Brady’s medical care is ongoing, and we’ll return to the RMH soon. Initially, staying at the House was a safe and comfortable place to sleep at night and a place to eat a meal prepared by volunteers. With each passing day and week, Brady and I established a new rhythm of life at the House – and I really learned just how much this House and its volunteers do for its families and children! It is because of the generosity of the RMH and its community supporters, Brady has enjoyable experiences when he’s not at the Center for Children. We’ve visited the cMoe, Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Gardens and Tri-State Athletic Club, where Brady took his first tennis lesson – an activity doctors doubted possible for him.
I delight in the smile on Brady’s face each time he walks through the doors of the RMH. We’re always greeted kindly by the staff and volunteers. Brady quickly engages in conversation with them – his “friends”. We share laughter. We gain encouragement. We’ve experienced the graciousness of other Ronald McDonald Houses during Brady’s hospitalizations, and while we are so thankful for them, the RMHC of the Ohio Valley is like no other for our family. It truly is an incredible place! This RMH is like a second home for us, and we are so grateful for the kindness and stability their staff and volunteers have extended to us in trying times.
We see the world differently since Brady’s medical journey began. As parents, we feel one of our jobs is to teach our children life lessons, but we’re discovering that Brady and this RMH’s staff and volunteers are teaching us some life lessons. They remind us to delight in moments and days, and to delight in progress – whether big or small. RMHC remind us of the power of compassion. It’s our hope that we can pay forward this compassion shown to us by giving back to this House. We delight in sharing our experiences and God’s faithfulness to other parents who are also on medical journeys with their child. Thank you to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley for showing us all the good your House does and for giving our family renewed hope!
– Chad, Sally, Brett & Brady