By Kevin Kramer
My name is Kevin Kramer, proud father of Molly (3), Hattie (2 months), and Huck (2 months) Kramer and with my wife we live in the small town of Celina, Ohio. Unfortunately, all three of my beautiful children have had stays in the hospital, ranging from a few weeks to a couple months. Molly was born with a genetic disorder called Dandy Walker Syndrome. Because of Molly’s genetic disorder, she is more prone to hospital stays. Hattie was born with congenital heart disease and did not fare well with her surgery causing a 60 day stay in Nationwide Children’s Hospital with future follow up surgeries. Huck was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension and spent 13 days in the NICU. All three children have spent time in Nationwide Children’s hospital, some of which occurred in a 3 week time period that saw each of my children in the hospital. Molly and Huck will have many follow up appointments for the remainder of their lives, some ranging from impatient stays while others are outpatient in either Dayton or Columbus.
One of the challenges that we faced as parents, other than the obscure future for two of our children, was the hardship of not being able to be together as a family. With my wife Jess, Molly, and Huck at home while Hattie and I stayed at the hospital, it was comforting to know that the Ronald McDonald House was an option to ease some other difficulties. The RMH eased a financial burden while many hospital bills were pouring in. Without RMH we would have been forced to stay in a hotel that was not as close in proximity to the hospital. Also, the RMH provided countless meals and snacks to keep me energized. Equally as energizing was the comfortable bed and room. At one point I thought that I could “tough it out” by sleeping over at the hospital every night. However, I quickly found that sleep was sparse in the hospital setting and it made me feel foggy and irritable the next day. We faced some very difficult times during Hattie’s time at Nationwide Children’s, including watching my child code, a week on life support, and news about traumatic brain damage. The Ronald McDonald House provided a much needed reprieve through these times. Any parent who has experienced these situations would probably agree that sometimes you need to have a moment to yourself where you can have a good cry. The RMH provided me with this privacy and comfort.
In closing, I would like to tell the volunteers and workers at the Columbus Ronald McDonald house, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your generosity will never be forgotten and that I hope to someday be able to reciprocate the generosity that you have bestowed upon me.