I often see donation boxes; some organizations I’m familiar with, others not so much. The Ronald McDonald’s is one organization I had heard about but wasn’t familiar with their work until it personally impacted my family. Being at Asher’s side day and night, the thought of leaving to go Home wasn’t something I was willing to do. We would be sleeping in those hospital chairs right next to him, if anything.
Joeseph had mentioned the Ronald McDonald House the night before, but it honestly didn’t register until we checked in on the process of staying there. I was blown away. The Ronald McDonald House was on the same floor as Asher, only a few minutes from his bedside, and it became our Home away from Home while we journeyed through the NICU.
The fact that everything there was through donations amazed me. They provided such an uplifting environment and hosted events to give families a chance to regroup and connect with each other during their experience. It was indeed a light during our journey. We were all strangers but with one common denominator, and that was someone we loved was fighting, and we were all in the ring together.
As great as this gift was to us and others, space was limited. Unfortunately, at times, there were more families than there were beds. To keep it fair, if there were more names than spaces available, it became the luck of the draw. We were blessed enough to have a spot during the majority of Asher’s stay in the NICU. During our time there, we heard stories and had conversations with parents who were there from all over the world; some had no family or options close. Once he was more stable, we decided to give our space up to allow the blessing to continue for others who needed it more.
I will never forget that night we decided to give up our spot on the list. Shortly after a new baby was transported to our area, we heard the nurse trying to get the mother settled. Hearing the worry in her voice, she walked by, saying she would check with Ronald McDonald and see if they had a room available. My heart was overwhelmed with joy because I knew the relief that a mother would get knowing she could be a few steps away from her child and didn’t have to go home.