By Angela Stacy
My journey to the Ronald McDonald House began in September 2012. At that time, my son Luke was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. After numerous hospitalizations and all available medication paths had been exhausted to put him into remission, Luke had no other choice but to have Total Colectomy and Ileostomy surgery to remove his entire colon. He was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital on July 6, 2013 to begin the surgery process. On July 8, 2013, Luke underwent a six hour surgery and he began his life with an ostomy bag.
During Luke’s hospital stay, I met a family whose child was sharing Unit 5A with our family. One morning in the Unit’s Family Kitchen, our conversation began by sharing our children’s illnesses. From there it turned to faith and family. During our conversation I learned their family was from Virginia. My thoughts immediately turned to how fortunate I was to be fifteen minutes from home. I needed my family, church and home close to me. My family gave me the ability to escape when things seemed unbearable. My church family visited and spent time in prayer with us and provided meals during the recovery process. And, just knowing home was close continued to give me some normalcy in my life. This family didn’t have that same fortune.
I remember asking if they were spending their nights and every minute of the day in the hospital room with their daughter. Where was their ability to escape? Their response was “The Ronald McDonald House.” At that moment, I learned the importance of “The House”. They praised the staff and volunteers who were making their lives as normal as possible with a place to stay, warm meals and love. I remember the words, “We don’t know what we would do without them.”
Through our conversation, Luke’s hospitalization and prayer, I became determined to give back to those families who don’t have the same fortune of having home close to the hospital. My goal is to make their stay as much like home as possible. In September, 2013, I began my training to become a House Warmer at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. Through volunteering at “The House”, it is my passion to touch and bless the lives of the guests. Little did I know the multitude of blessings I would receive in return.
Thank you Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for all you do!