Christmas 2022 holds deep meaning after a series of miracles we never imagined. We’d like to share our story.
We live in Albemarle and are a regular, loving family. My husband Kenny serves in the Air National Guard, and I’m a church musician and music teacher. I’m also the mom of three girls and a 3-year-old son named Gus.
In 2021, we were living near New Orleans temporarily for my husband’s job. One day, Gus was playing in the water outside near our home. A few days later, he was fighting a rare bacterial infection.
We learned he had one of the only spontaneous case of a normally inherited, life-threatening disease. There are very few kids like him in the world. We went from the everyday parents of four beautiful kids to the mom and dad of one very sick boy.
We also learned the only lasting treatment for his survival was a bone marrow transplant. No one in our family was a match for Gus, so our medical team began the search for a donor.
That miracle came soon in the form of an anonymous friend in another country, only we learned later in the process that there was a problem with the donor’s cells, and we would have to need to find another way.
Online research led us back home to North Carolina and Duke Children’s Hospital, which has success treating kids like Gus with cord blood transplants. We requested a transfer home and immediately went to Duke.
In April, we checked in at Ronald McDonald House for preliminary tests. We returned, off and on, for four months. In August, I moved in for my son’s transplant and made Ronald McDonald House my home. My husband Kenny and our daughters were able to visit. While Kenny worked back home, our amazing family and friends helped care for our three girls, including our 18-month-old daughter.
I found that Ronald McDonald House was much more than a place to stay. There, I found welcome, embrace, and love. Kind strangers made meals every day for parents like me. Families facing big illnesses support each other in a community I can’t fully describe.
I’ll jump ahead to tell you our story ends well.
Our hope – my prayer – was to be home for Christmas.
At a clinic appointment on December 1, our doctor said, “Things are going well. How would you like to go home today?”
I was in shock and could only answer with the question, “Today today?”
I returned to Ronald McDonald House to pack after 121 days of treatment for Gus – and 121 days of hospitality at the best “second home” in the world. And that evening, Gus and I were at our home in Albemarle with my husband and three girls, a complete family once again.
My family would like to express our gratitude to you and the other friends of the House whose support sustained us through our journey. We have no words other than thank you. Our family wishes you and those you love a miraculous holiday season!