Our Experience With The Ronald McDonald House

What an emotional roller coaster for us during this time in our life. In a later post we will go into more detail about Carter’s brain tumor, but we feel as though it is important to discuss our experience with the Ronald McDonald House while Carter stayed in the hospital for more than a month. Hopefully, this will allow another family who does not know about this wonderful charity to be able to spend more time closer to their child than on the road traveling.

Your life gets turned upside down, and you have no idea what is actually happening at any moment. There are doctors everywhere, decisions to be made without time for consideration, and one of your precious child’s life on the line. There is no way for anyone to be prepared for such a task, yet you are forced to be in this position. It’s up to you, and every decision has a consequence. I am not trying to create this dark atmosphere of anxiety or emotional catastrophe, but to ensure understanding of the difficulties involved.

How did we get here?

Now take all of that, and be forced to drive back and forth hours away because the entire family cannot stay in the hospital room, or a parent has to go back to work. For us, we were fortunate to have Kelli as a stay at home mother, and dad being an active duty Marine. This gave flexibility within the command, and allowed both parents to stay at the hospital while Carter was admitted, for over 30 days.

We didn’t want to leave him there by himself, and made a decision that no matter the cost or the exhaustion it would cause, someone would always be with Carter to be by his side and make decisions. He had just come out of a surgery that lasted way longer than 8 hours, and needed all of the recovery and assistance he could get.

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Now that we had made this decision as a family, we had to figure out how we could afford to stay by his side and not have parents driving back and forth from home. We were three hours from our house since he was flown from Camp Lejeune to UNC Chapel Hill Children’s Hospital. We also couldn’t afford over a month staying in a hotel room either. I had only been in the Marine Corps for five years at the time and didn’t make a whole lot of income. We also had a brand new child, Kinley, who was just born 2-3 months earlier.

Kelli had here parents in town at the time and they had come up with us, but they would not be able to stay there the entire time. We ended up having a rotation of someone who stayed with Carter and the others staying with Kinley, and when her parents left they took Kinley with them to help us out a little more. The biggest saving grace though, was the Ronald McDonald House. 

Straight from there website is the following information

Services for Families

At every House, families can enjoy:

Home-cooked meals

Private bedrooms

Playrooms for children

The generosity of volunteers and donors make it all possible. In return, families either stay at no cost or are asked to make a donation up to $25 per day, depending on the House. The RMHC Global Policy is that families are never turned away; if it’s not possible to pay, the fee is waived.

For us, we ended up paying $10 a night, and had a bed, shower, and food that was great during the stay. The house was merely minutes from the hospital, and created the perfect condition for us to stay at night and return the next morning with some much needed rest. We always had one person sleeping with Carter in the hospital to make sure he wasn’t alone, but the rest of the family had a place to crash at night that was better than the waiting area. Without the Ronald McDonald house, we would have been lost, unable to survive this hellish nightmare we were living in. For this, we will be forever grateful!

Check out their Website to learn more.

And their FAQ’s

Share any experiences you have with the Ronald McDonald House in the comments

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