Yesterday was a global day of giving known as #GivingTuesday. If you follow Ronald McDonald House Charities on any social networks, you probably saw our charity joining the chorus of requests for donations. We thank you so much for all of your contributions yesterday, and throughout the year. Without you, we would not be able to keep the doors open on the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. You know all of the money you donate to RMHC of Central Ohio goes directly toward keeping families close to their children when those children are getting medical attention in a Columbus hospital. These families come from all over the planet so some of the best doctors in the world can care for their little patients.
One such family allowed us to take pictures of them and use those pictures in our #GivingTuesday campaign. Ana, Gustavo and their daughters Marta & María are from Castellón, a city in eastern Spain. Two years ago, four-year-old Marta began to have epileptic seizures. What started as only epileptic seizures evolved, in the following months, to a cognitive, speech, sight, and motor impairment. After many doctors, innumerable tests and several hospitals, Marta was diagnosed in April of last year with a neurodegenerative genetic disease that has no cure. Marta’s dad, Gustavo explains, “Being genetic, we also had to test María, our youngest daughter, resulting in the same diagnosis. It was devastating. The world came upon us … But a ray of hope appeared in the same visit of María’s diagnosis. Our doctor had found a clinical trial for our daughters’ disease at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Our “JOURNEY TO HOPE” began.”
Gustavo and Ana started sending all the tests and documentation that they requested. And, finally, in March of this year the couple was told that the family could come to Columbus to undergo selection testing. “After two weeks of evaluation, they informed us that Marta was selected, but that María, due to a series of medical incompatibilities, wasn’t eligible,” Gustavo says. “In these moments we had mixed feelings, joy for Marta and disappointment and sadness for María. But we did not lose hope that María would also enter. The doctors proposed an alternative to the FDA for our young daughter and after six months, of many nerves and uncertainty, they answered positively.” He exclaimed, “Maria was also inside!!” Now, for two years, every three months, the family travels from Spain to the U.S. “We do not know the result of this treatment, but we hope to save our daughters’ lives,” Gustavo adds.
The family has stayed at our Ronald McDonald House three times. On two of those occasions, they stayed for two months. “We would like you to know that this house is not a hotel or a common hostel. It is something more… something special. You feel welcomed, comfortable and safe, something very important when you are with your children,” Gustavo says.
When asked what he would like the donors and volunteers who support the charity to know, Gustavo finishes with this: “Our most sincere thanks! At heart, there are no words to express all the good you do. Like us, here live many families with very, very difficult situations that tell stories of overcoming, courage and above all of hope. And that hope we keep, to a large extent, thanks to you. Being in a situation like ours, far from the family and our country, without this house we would have made everything much more difficult. To feel so many people who care about us without knowing us is a blessing. Many thanks!!”