The families that stay at RMHC of Central Ohio share the most incredible stories with our volunteers, donors, and staff. Some of these stories have the potential to bring you to your knees and give you a reality check, while showing the incredible resilience and grace of our families. It helps keep everything in perspective.
On Monday, I had the opportunity to sit in with The Columbus Dispatch while they interviewed a family whose daughter is receiving treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and are also guests here at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. Their daughter has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). This disease takes away the ability to eat, swallow, walk, or breathe. It is the number one genetic cause of death for infants.
The parents had a very candid conversation about their daughter’s diagnosis, and shared some very heartbreaking statistics during the interview, such as 90% of children with SMA don’t live to their second birthday. This family handled their daughter’s diagnosis with such grace and optimism, though. During their interview, they said, “we live in the present with our daughter and know that every day is a gift. We have high hopes for her and hope the treatment she is currently undergoing will help future children with SMA and we hope one day there will be a cure.” During their interview, they laughed and smiled so much with their sweet baby girl, which was very endearing to watch.
I have a tendency to focus on the past and not embrace my present blessings. Hearing this family say they live in the present made me realize just how important it is to be grateful for our present situation. This family can be a model for others to follow—they focus on what they can do for their family, and in this life, family is the most important thing. Although life has the potential to be bleak, we can be thankful for the small things in our lives—whether that is a smile from your child, a phone call from a loved one after a hard day, or a warm chocolate chip cookie—these little things can lift our spirits and we have the ability to determine our attitude every day. I am going to follow this family’s example and find the good in each day and be thankful for my amazing family, and that’s what RMHC does for our families—allows them to focus on their child’s health and their family, and remember that each day is a gift.
By Mackenzie Schuler