“Cayden Jolliff is 1,113 days old today.” That’s how his mom, Gretchen, updated her family, friends and supporters yesterday when sharing the lastest news about her son. That’s how she always starts to give a daily update to the group, which she calls “Cayden’s Crew.” It shows just how much she treasures every day Cayden’s been alive. On Monday, Gretchen, Cayden’s dad, Kevin, and Cayden’s grandma Ruthann, came back to the Ronald McDonald House with Cayden. The family was coming back to the House where they had stayed for just over two years from the moment Cayden was born. This time, it wasn’t to check-in because Cayden had to have another stay in the hospital. It was to give back to the House. And this time, they brought with them two luggage carts filled with donations, including household items and thousands of pop tabs. If that weren’t enough, they also presented the House staff with a check for more than $1,500! Gretchen says it was all the result of that group of supporters, Cayden’s Crew. The family had asked them to gather needed items for the House instead of giving gifts to Cayden for his birthday, on March 23rd, and they came through with quite a haul.
But what made this visit to the house much more special is that it was the first time Cayden had ever been in The Ronald McDonald House. “Cayden decided today on the way down to Columbus that even though it was his nap time, he didn’t want any part of that and pretty much cried all the way, ” Gretchen said of the car trip to deliver the goods. “Once we got in the house, he began to look around and wasn’t so sure what he thought about Ronald,” she said of Cayden’s first impression seeing the Ronald McDonald statue sitting on the bench in the House lobby area. “He didn’t hate the statue, but was just staring at him with a questionable look.” “We were able to see so many of our friends at the house today. It was weird actually having Cayden there with us and not staying,” she added.
Gretchen says they expect to return to the House some day soon with another donation and a big announcement. Meanwhile, Gretchen says Cayden’s doctor appointment that day went well. “We will start to wean another med over the next few months. This wean will be VERY VERY slow as Cayden depends on this med for his nervous system.” But she added, “Even without the nap happening today and a little bit of grumpiness, today was a really great day.”