What We Do
The Scanlon-Ailsby Family
Julie Scanlon and James Ailsby, son George (age two) and daughter Olivia (born 26th July 2006) together with Julie’s parents, Josie and Peter, traveled to Michigan from South Dakota in July so that Olivia could be delivered at C.S. Mott Hospital. In March the couple had found out at the routine ultrasound that Olivia had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and after researching the subject decided Mott was the best place for Olivia’s care. James and Julie are both from England and have lived in the USA for three years having established a dairy farming business in the Midwest. The Ronald McDonald House had been highly recommended to them by other families with children with the same condition. Little Olivia was recently discharged from Mott and is doing just great at home with her family.
“The Ronald McDonald House has been invaluable to us in this difficult time,” says Julie.
“The convenience of the location to the Hospital, the support from other families and the incredible help from all the staff and volunteers to make life as easy as possible at this time was a huge help and we will be eternally grateful.”
The Hernandez Family
Samuel Hernandez was born in El Salvador in 2001. Doctors noticed very early that baby Samuel was very lethargic and not responding like other healthy newborns. Upon further examination, it was determined that one of the chambers of Samuel’s heart was not fully developed and he would require surgery. Alejandra, Samuel’s mother, was referred to C.S. Mott Hospital in Ann Arbor for the critical surgery he needed. Wanting the best care for her son, Alejandra traveled to the U.S. for his first surgery when he was one year old. Now age five, Samuel returned again this past September with his mom for a necessary second heart surgery. Samuel’s bright smile and hearty laugh are reassuring signs to Alejandra that he is doing very well. Following approval from Samuel’s doctor, he and his Mom will soon be able to return home to El Salvador.
“I thank God for the Ronald McDonald House. We have been fortunate to stay here both times Samuel has had his heart surgeries. It is very comfortable here and whatever we need is available to us. We very much appreciate everything. Muchas Gracias!”
Thanks very much to Jesse Gutierrez, long-time RMH Volunteer, for interpreting his conversation with Alejandra, who speaks Spanish only, for this letter.
The Douglas Family
Tori and Weylin Douglas and their six-year-old son Bryce stayed at the House while their new baby boy was hospitalized. It was determined from a routine 20 week ultrasound that the Douglas’ unborn son Ethan had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH.) The Douglas family was referred to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for the skilled pediatric surgeons whom they knew had experience with CDH and Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO.) ECMO was necessary to sustain Ethan’s life. The family came to the House prior to Tori’s induction date until giving birth and stayed for nearly eight months, with a short three day return visit. They now are at home and Ethan is happy and continues to amaze them every day.
“We are forever indebted to the Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor. We would have been lost without the wonderful support provided by the staff and the close proximity to the hospital. We are grateful for the precious moments we were able to spend with our baby at all times of the day or night, without Ronald McDonald House this would not have been possible.”
The West Family
Tamara and Marlan West and their three-year-old son Izzie stayed at the House while baby Farrah was recovering from surgery to remove a very large congenital tumor from her neck. Farrah’s tumor was very rare and the procedure she underwent was performed while she was still connected to her mother’s umbilical cord. Doctors had to take extreme care during the surgery since the tumor was imbedded in and grown around major veins and arteries. Farrah made it through the surgery beautifully. The West family stayed at the House for close to a month while Farrah was hospitalized. This past spring the family returned to the House and celebrated Farrah’s first birthday there. She continues to do very well. Her parents call her their “little miracle.”
“The Ronald McDonald House was a tremendous help to us in our time of need. They provided shelter and comfort to our family for almost an entire month while our baby girl remained in the hospital. They did all of this at very little cost to us. We are so appreciative and ask people to support the House in any way they can.”