Here - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington DC

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					RMHC of Greater Washington, DC

 Family Story Book



   Over 22,000 families have found a
 home-away-from-home within our doors.
 Here are brief stories of just a few
 that have been helped by your generous
               donations...
                           One example of a family that stayed with us in 2012

  Jason’s story
Jason’s mom, Arlette, tells the story of how her family
survived his childhood illness and how staying at the
Ronald McDonald House in Washington, D.C. made
all the difference.
                           “When our son, Jason,
                                     was about 4 weeks old, he de-
                                     veloped a disease that destroyed his
                                     small intestine. He waited on a transplant list for more than a year.
                                     When your child is seriously ill, you feel like you are fighting for his
                                     every breath. In the middle of one night, we finally got the call saying
                                     MedStar
                                     Georgetown University Hospital had a transplant for Jason. We left
                                     New York immediately. The surgery was successful, but we had to
                                     stay close by for over six months so doctors could monitor him.

  That’s when we became part of the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) family. There, you have a
natural support system from other families going through similar situations. One family even helped
us get back to the hospital during an emergency in the middle of the night. RMH also provides home-
cooked meals and little or no cost rooms, especially
helpful since we both had to leave our jobs to attend to Jason’s health. We wouldn’t have been able to
   When your child is seriously ill, you feel like you are fighting for his every breath.
  Ronald McDonald House means so much to our family; it truly is a home-away-from-home. Nine
years down the road from that first scary night at the hospital, Jason is doing well. We return for
annual check-ups and stay at the D.C. RMH each time. During this time, we found out what
supporters of RMH already know, that it is very important to have a place like Ronald McDonald
House because you can’t go through things in life like this by yourself. That’s what RMH does;
provides a home-away-from-home so families can get the support they need to help their child heal.”

        The support at RMH gives you a chance to
          re-evaluate your situation, and learn how to
         live through it.

 Today, after his successful transplant, Jason is a thriving nine
 year old. Jason’s family is just one of the 22,000
 families that have benefited from Ronald McDonald House
 Charities® of Greater Washington, D.C. since we opened our
 doors in 1980. Though each famiy has their own story, they all Jason, 2003       Jason, thing
                                                                                have one 2012
                  in common: you and the love and support shown through your generous donations.

                                      You can donate by check, credit card, or on-line at
                                       http://rmhc.greaterdc.org/ways-to-help/donate/
                                           ~ Designate your donation for 2012WDMR
   Ronald Mcdonald               Ronald McDonald House means so much to our family;
    House cHaRities
GReateR WasHinGton, d.c.                 It truly is a home-away-from-home.
                    One example of a family that stayed with us in 2011

                                                   Brandon
                                                                                At 4 months old,
                                                                             Brandon was diagnosed
                                                                             with Schwackman
                                                                             Diamond Syndrome.
                                                                             Brandon’s red blood cells
                                                                             were extremely depleted;
                                                                             he had bone marrow
                                                                             failure; and his growth
                                                                             would remain below
                                                                             normal. Through careful
                                                                             management, doctors were
                                                                             able to stabilize Brandon’s
                                                                             condition and from 6
                                                                             months to 12 years old he
                                                                             stayed healthy and happy...
                                                                             a calm before the storm.
                                                   In September 2009, just after Brandon became a big
                                                   brother for the third time, his illness returned.

                                      At first it seemed that he just had a stomach virus, but it soon
became clear that something was seriously wrong. Doctors said it was Myelodysplastic Syndrome
(MDS) which, left untreated, becomes Leukemia. Brandon had his first bone marrow transplant to
ward off the MDS, but when it came back, doctors had to pursue a more aggressive treatment.

   In March of 2011, doctors told Brandon and his family that he needed another transplant, as well as
chemotherapy treatment, as soon as possible. Hiding in the nooks and crannies of bones, MDS tends
to evade even the most comprehensive chemotherapy treatments. In order to treat the resurgence of
MDS, doctors performed a bone marrow transplant that they knew would result in Brandon developing
Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD).

  GVHD attacks unfamiliar cells. Although the GVHD would ultimately attack unaffected bone
marrow, in addition to the MDS cells, introducing GVHD to Brandon’s system was the best bet
for eliminating the pre-cancerous MDS. And because his immune system was so fragile, he
was kept in isolation for 4 months. Brandon is now fighting off GVHD of the gut and liver,
meaning he can’t eat solid foods.

   With medical expenses mounting and limited resources to get them through,
Brandon’s parents were unable to take off from work and were unsure how they
would keep their four children together. That’s when his mother moved their
family into the D.C. Ronald McDonald House® (RMH). RMH has isolation
suites designed specially for families of children with delicate situations,
like Brandon’s. Brandon was able to have his family around him and
his parents had their children under one roof and at one dinner
table, and were still able to go to work.
A “Home” to Heal Together
As told by Sara’s mother
  When you find out your unborn child has a severe
 congenital heart defect, many thoughts bombard your mind:
What will her life be like? Will she be “normal”? Will I outlive my
child? Through the course of three open-heart surgeries, three
cardiac catheterizations, a wound infection, sepsis, a
 chylothorax, multiple days in the ICU, and weeks in the
 hospital, we worried about so much. One thing we did not
have to worry about was how we would be able to stay close
enough to be with Sara during her stays in the hospital, thanks
entirely to Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater
 Washington, D.C. (RMHC®).

            Despite the fact that congenital heart defects are the most common
              congenital birth defects, we knew nothing about them and had no idea
                                        what to expect. Sara needed to be born two
                                         hours from our home, in order to have the first
                                         surgery she would need shortly after birth. One
                                          week after Sara’s birth, she had her first surgery.
                                            She spent the next three weeks in the ICU,
                                             recovering from surgery and fighting off a
                                             wound infection and sepsis. While staying at
                                             the Ronald McDonald House® (RMH) we
                                              immediately felt at home, with friendly staff
and kid-friendly surroundings. Our oldest, Rachel, was able to stay with us and RMH
 became our home-away-from-home for Sara’s first month of life.

  Our family returned to RMH D.C. in December2011, just days after Sara’s second
birthday, for her third open-heart surgery. This time we had the honor of being the last
family to stay at the old RMH and the first family to stay in the new (and fabulous) D.C.
House. And what an amazing new House it is! Although, in the grand scheme of life and
surgeries, it may seem minor, it was such a blessing to have a private bathroom! Not to
mention the comfortable beds, large kitchen, library, laundry facilities, play area... So very
much to be thankful for! Sara was in the hospital for two weeks this time. My husband and
I were able to alternate nights in the hospital with Sara, knowing that the other was getting
a good night’s sleep, while still close enough to rush to the hospital if needed.

  RMH not only provides shelter, but also provides camaraderie. Those who have not had
to experience a major medical illness in their children are truly blessed. However, RMHC
serves to remind us just how very blessed we are.
                    One example of a family that stayed with us in 2010




                                                  A mother’s love is a source of
                                                   courage, hope and healing.


Just over a year ago, 17-year-old Lauren could think of nothing but senior prom, graduation
and the start of her freshmen year at the University of Tennessee.

On April 15th, 2010 Lauren was in an
horrific car accident that nearly took
her life. She suffered massive internal
injuries, brain trauma and a broken knee,
femur, pelvis, ankle, hand and parts of
her back. She had a ten percent chance
of survival and if she did recover, she had
an even smaller chance of ever walking
again.

After the accident, Lauren woke to find
her mother at her hospital bedside.
Ronald McDonald House® became
Lauren and her mother’s home for the
next five months. The House gave them
the ability to devote all of their time
and efforts to Lauren’s recovery through
easy access to doctors appointments and
rehabilitation facilities. On a daily basis,
she and her mother would return to the
House after hours of painful physical
therapy to find freshly cooked meals,
comfortable beds, movie nights and
friendly faces.

In a matter of months, Lauren went from
wheel chair, to walker, to crutches. On
September 16th, 2010 Lauren walked
down the Ronald McDonald House halls
to receive her high school diploma. Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater
Washington, D.C. staff, volunteers, Inova Fairfax hospital employees and Lauren’s high school
guidance counselor were all there to celebrate her incredible accomplishments. Of everyone,
her proud and teary-eyed mother who stood by her every step of the way, was the
shining light in the room.

Lauren is now taking pre-med classes at the University of Tennessee - she wants to go into the
field of Kinesiology.
                                           Worth Every Mile
                                          Salomé was born in Cartagena,Columbia.
                                          When Salomé was just three years old, she was
                                          diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma. This extremely
                                          aggressive malignant brain tumor grows out of the
                                          cerebellum and surgery is always a risky under-
                                          taking. In Salomé’s case, surgery was even more
                                          dangerous because of the tumor’s close proximity
                                          to her brain stem. A Colombian hospital performed
                                          two perilous brain surgeries, however, the tumor
                                          persisted and doctors sent Salomé home saying
                                          there was nothing else they could do. Unwilling to
                                          accept defeat, Salomé’s mother and father, Lina
                                          and Mauricio, continued to seek help and their
                                          research ultimately brought them to Children’s
                                          National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Head
                                          of oncology, Dr. Tobey
                                          MacDonald had              “Having her family near
                                                                     gave Salomé the strength,
                                          good news: “We can         support, and love she
help you.” They flew to D.C., met with the hospital’s oncology       needed to face a long and
team and began the first of five chemotherapy treatments             difficult treatment
and several stem cell recovery treatments. During this time,         protocol. “
Salomé’s father, mother and three siblings stayed at the D.C.
Ronald McDonald House. Having her family near gave Salomé the strength, support, and
love she needed to face a long and difficult treatment protocol. The process of treating the
brain tumor with chemotherapy resulted in partial loss of hearing, but her father says, “It is
little in comparison to what she gained.”

Despite the help of insurance, the hospital bills and traveling expenses were difficult to bear.
Ronald McDonald House was able to eliminate the stress of hotel and daily living costs.
Traveling so far from home was not only very expensive but, initially, very lonely. Salomé and
her father say that the Ronald McDonald House has become like a second home to them
and they have always felt comforted by the other families they have met at the House,
families experiencing a similar challenge. Since a Medulloblastoma is so aggressive, Salomé
and her father flew the 10 hours from Columbia for her treatments every three months in
                                                                2005 and 2006, then every four
                                                                months from 2007-2009 and
                                                                every six months since then.
                                                                Now nine, Salomé has been in
                                                                remission for 4 years and flies to
                                                                D.C. for week long check-ups
                                                                during school breaks. Once
                                                                she reaches the 5 year mark
                                                                of remission in 2011, Salomé
                                                                will need to return for check-
                                                                ups once a year for the rest of
                                                                her life, to monitor for signs of
                                                                relapse. Mauricio and Salomé
                               The process of treating the      stay at the Ronald McDonald
                             brain tumor with chemothera-       House during each visit and
                             py resulted in loss of hearing in
                             both of Salomé’s ears, but her     have treasured visiting the Na-
                             father says, “It is little in com- tional Mall and other D.C. sites.
                              parison to what she gained.”
        One example of a family that stayed with us in 2009




  Another Day To Be Thankful For...
Another Day To Be Thankful For...
                                   M
                                   M      adelyn was born weighing 55pounds, 7 7
                                           adelyn was         weighing pounds,
                                           ounces and was diagnosed with Down
                                          ounces and was diagnosed with Down
                                    Syndrome and two congenital heart defects.
                                    Syndrome and two congenital heart defects.
                                    One month old and staying at hospital, in the
                                    One month old and staying at thethe hospital, in
                                    the middle of one scary night, Madelyn into
                                    middle of one scary night, Madelyn went went
                                    into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, her parents
                                    cardiac arrest. Fortunately, her parents were
                                    were staying at the at the Mcdonald donald
                                    staying nearbynearbyRonald Ronald McHouse®
                                    House® were able to get to to hospital quickly
                                    and theyand they were ablethe get to the hospi-
                                    tal quickly side.
                                    to be by her to be by her side.


                                     alungs to her toold, Madelyn wasfrom go
                                    a fterAtsurgeryheart, Madelyn was able toher
                                    home.
                                                       insert a shunt
                                         fter surgery to insert a shunt from her lungs
                                         to her heart, Madelyn was able to go home.
                                             one year                  healthy
                                    At one year old, Madelyn was healthy enough
                                    enough to withstand open heart surgery. For
                                    to withstand open heart surgery. For a second
                                    a second time, stayed at RMH, thankful for
                                    time, her parentsher parents stayed at RMH,
                                    thankful for a Home-AwAy allowed them to
                                    a Home-AwAy-From-Home that-From-Home that
                                    allowed them to sleep in shifts, and develop
                                    sleep in shifts, and develop friendships with oth-
                                    friendships the other all while staying close
                                    er families atwithHouse, families at the House,
                                    all while staying close to Madelyn.
                                    to Madelyn.


N
N
         ow, after her successful heart surgery, Madelyn is back at home. She’s sit-
       ow, after her successful heart surgery, Madelyn is back at home. She’s sitting,
         playing patty cake, and and waving! Madelyn’s family is of one of the
       ting, playing patty cake,waving! Madelyn’s family is just onejustthe 18,000
  families that have benefited from Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater
18,000 families that have benefited from Ronald McDonald House Charities® of
  Washington, D.C. since we opened our doors in 1980. in 1980. Though has fam-
Greater Washington, D.C. since we opened our doorsThough each familyeachtheir
  own story, own story, one all have one thing in common: you and the love and
ily has theirthey all havethey thing in common: you and the love and support shown
                                                                7
   through your through donations.
support showngenerous your generous donations.
                 Magic Behind the Medicine

E   verything about Emma and her family
    was magical, from the imaginary world the
children play in, to the miraculous way that
Emma recovered so quickly after every sur-
gery. Much like the heroes in the fairytales that
Emma and her brother loved to act out, the
family battled a daunting villain. Instead of a
giant dragon or evil witch, however, the villain
in this story was a cancerous tumor.

   While horseback riding for the first time on her
8th birthday, Emma experienced a pain that
alerted her parents that something was wrong.
What doctors discovered was a malignant ter-
atoma: a cancerous tumor that grows quickly
and aggressively, spreading throughout the
body and requiring prompt removal. After her
first surgery in April 2008, Emma’s doctors be-
lieved that everything had been removed but
over the next year, two more surgeries were              “...it was only days before she was
needed when two other tumors grew. In her                walking and playing once again.”
final operation, Emma endured invasive sur-
gery that necessitated breaking her tail bone.
Despite the serious surgeries, Emma recovered
quickly due in part to a curiously powerful           House truly proved to be a Home-Away-from-
remedy her family calls, “Maddie Medicine.”           Home®, easing the family’s travel and keeping
Emma’s cousin, Maddie, came to visit after            them together. Being with her mother is what
every surgery, lifting Emma’s spirits so that each    Emma says makes her feel most at home.
time, it was only days before she was walking         Emma’s brother, Wilhem, was given the choice
and playing once again.                               of staying with his grandmother and father, or
                                                      living in the House with his mother and sister.
   For several months including 6 chemo treat-        Six year old, Wilhem, responded, “I want to
ments and 3 surgeries, the family spent 92            stay at the Ronald McDonald House as long
uncomfortable nights in the hospital. While           as you are here... my heart hurts when you’re
Emma spent a month undergoing 30 radiation            away.”
treatments, the NOVA Ronald McDonald
                                                      We may not have a fairy godmother or a
                                                      magic wand, but Ronald McDonald House
                                                      Charities® of Greater Washington D.C., has the
                                                      magic of generous donors, dedicated volun-
                                                      teers, and a House that love built.


                                                      Thank you to all who support RMHC
                                                        - you are the magic. behind each
                                                                  child’s story.

                                                         Sadly, Emma passed away a few years after
                                                        their stay at the NOVA RMH in 2009. Her smile,
                                                          pink tutu and tremendous spirit will forever
“My heart hurts when you’re away.”                                      be in our hearts.
-Wilhem, 6 years old

				
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