On October 4, 2010- My world got flipped upside down. My wife, Kristy, gave birth to our beautiful baby daughter, Brooke Elyse, 2 months early. Brooke was our first child, and we didn’t know anything about premature babies, what it was like to be a NICU parent, or the worries and concern we would begin to have after an emergency helicopter flight and delivery. We had heard of the Ronald McDonald House before, but didn’t understand exactly how much the RMH would touch our lives personally.
One of the nurses at the Evansville St. Mary’s Women & Children’s Hospital mentioned the Ronald McDonald House and how she had toured it and was impressed by it, and told us that since Brooke would be in the NICU for a while, we should look into it. From the first time we walked in the doors, we knew it was a special place. It was such a relief to not have to worry about how we were going to be close to our little girl, feed ourselves and to have such a nice place to call home for a while. The wonderful meals provided by both the RMH folks and the community restaurants were a godsend! It was a very emotional time in our lives and the RMH allowed us to concentrate on what was most important- getting Brooke home. While you hope to never have to go through that experience again, it’s very comforting knowing that the RMH is available in case you do- and it’s because of that reason, that we donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities as much as possible. We feel like it’s the least we could do after all that they did for us.
We had an employee who heard our story about the RMH, and brought in an ice cream bucket full of pop tabs, and it got us thinking. We created a contest for our employees to see who could collect the most pull tabs in a month. In the course of doing this, we wanted to do more; so we sent a letter to all our clients challenging them to see how many they could collect. We had a great response from all of them-as a matter of fact; we collected 51 lbs. of pop tabs.
Words could never express the experience we were given by being able to stay in the Ronald McDonald House, while our new baby girl was in the NICU. Since that very scary time 3 years ago, Brooke has grown into a very pleasant child. She is a happy little girl who loves to run and play outside, go riding around the neighborhood on the golf cart, and just loves life in general. We can’t imagine what we would have done if not for St. Mary’s Hospital and the RMH. They were there to help us through the start of what now is the center of our universe. We will continue to collect pop tabs for your cause, and support you the way you supported us.
-Willie, Kristy & Brooke Kerns