Julie and Steve Buchanan are parents to five children in southwestern Virginia: Summer, 16; Zachary, 14; Grayson, 12; Jada, 8; and Jazmine, 5.
Their youngest, Jazmine, was born with a birth defect that left a hole in her colon, causing multiple health issues over her young life. For added support, Julie joined a Mom’s group with similar issues as her daughter ~ and that’s when she found out about colorectal specialist Dr. Marc Levitt at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“He is the man,” said Julie, who said the treatment Dr. Levitt has provided has “made the difference as to whether or not (Jazmine) could live a normal life.”
“We wanted to come to the best place and we were blessed to get approved through insurance,” said Julie, adding that, initially, the family stayed in hotels when they came to Columbus. “But when they set us up at the hospital, the Welcome Center told us about the Ronald McDonald House.”
The first time the Buchanan family used the House was in December of 2015, and since then, they’ve stayed at least six more times through Jazmine’s check-ups, surgeries, and other appointments.
“If you’ve got to be away from home, this is the place to be,” said Julie, adding that the people at RMHC of Central Ohio were what made the real difference. “It’s the way the people are; the volunteers. They don’t just bring bubbles; they play bubbles. They interact so closely with (the kids). That’s meant so much; how the volunteers here and the staff have just been so welcoming and kind.”
“She never asks about shots, or surgery; all she talks about is coming to ‘Ronnie Donald’s’ house…I’m thankful for that.”
~ Julie Buchanan on her daughter, Jazmine, 5.
But what really stands out to Julie, is that when Jazmine knows she has to go to the hospital, no matter what the treatment, she doesn’t talk about the hospital ~ she talks about the Ronald McDonald House, or as Jazmine calls it “Ronnie Donald’s.”
“She never asks about shots, or surgery; all she talks about is coming to ‘Ronnie Donald’s’ house,” said Julie. “(The House) is what’s making that go away. (The House) is what’s staying in her mind. I’m thankful for that. Because she’s been through a lot. She’s gone through it. Just to see that this is what she remembers…you don’t want them to remember the bad.”