The story of Josie Wilson and her family is the embodiment of RMHC’s tagline “Keeping families close.”
From the time Josie was admitted to UNC Children’s Hospital in 2018 at just two days old, to the present, the family continually shows love and support to the House through donations and personal fundraising campaigns.
Four years ago, Stephanie Wilson gave birth to Josie at Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn, NC. Josie was delivered via emergency cesarian at 37 weeks due to a nuchal cord, the umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby’s body. Once she was delivered, doctors discovered that Josie was experiencing intestinal issues which stemmed from the nerve endings in her colon not functioning properly. Within two days, Josie became septic and had to be transferred to UNC Children’s Hospital, two hours from the Wilson’s home in Autryville.
At UNC, doctors diagnosed Josie with Hirschsprung’s Disease, a serious condition affecting the large intestine. One week later, at 11 days old, Josie successfully underwent a seven-hour surgery.
The Wilsons wanted to remain as close to their daughter as possible throughout Josie’s treatments at UNC, and the Ronald McDonald House was just the place to ensure that. A nurse at UNC referred the family to RMH, and just two days after Stephanie gave birth to Josie, the Wilsons were welcomed to their new home-away-from-home in Chapel Hill.
“Finding out Josie was being flown to Chapel Hill for further treatment was a very traumatic experience for us, but the Ronald McDonald House was so welcoming and caring. They gave us such a calming feeling in a very scary time in our lives,” said Stephanie.
The Wilsons called RMH “home” for 17 nights while Josie received care at the hospital. The family often thinks of how the experience might have been if they had to pay for a hotel, purchase all of their meals, or even drive four hours roundtrip every day from their home in Autryville. “It would have been very difficult. If we had not had the support of RMHCH, we would be in such a financially bad place today. I don’t know how we could have done it without the support of the Ronald McDonald House,” Stephanie said.
Today, Josie has “graduated” from all her needed procedures at UNC, with no indication the Hirschsprung’s Disease was ever a part of her life. She loves ballet and tap dance, music and singing, as well as t-ball and playing basketball with her older brother. Four years have passed since the Wilson family checked out of RMH, and each year they come back to donate supplies and host personal fundraisers to benefit the House that meant so much to them in their time of need.
With a joyful heart, Stephanie said “It truly is a home-away-from-home for us, and we just want to give them the same level of support they gave us during one of the most stressful times in our lives.”