We Experienced Ronald McDonald House During Our Daughter’s NICU Stay, Now Our Business is Fundraising for RMHC

By Nick Bryan

We are Nick and Sean Bryan. We began our adoption journey in 2015 with a local adoption agency in Columbus. We were matched up with an amazing birth mom in early 2016 and our daughter Harper Diem Bryan was born on September 24, 2016 in Cleveland. Little did we know, Harper was going to be in the NICU for 60 days leaving us lost and not sure what to do with such a huge commute back to Columbus. That’s where we discovered the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland and spent the next 60 nights there so that we could be close to our daughter, the hospital, and have a safe and comfortable place to sleep.

Harper was born at 32 weeks weighing just over 4lbs. She developed some issues with sucking, swallowing, and breathing. She had two surgeries in the hospital including and multiple sessions with PT and OT. The day before Thanksgiving, she was able to come home with us after 60 days in the hospital.

Unfortunately, on New Years Eve, December 31, 2016, she aspirated during the night and passed away at age 3 months. Although it was a difficult time as you can imagine for any family, we grew stronger together and continued to keep her short life and legacy alive by giving back to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. For Harper’s birthday, our meal group has been serving families staying in the House each year since 2017, making snack bags for the families in her memory during the holidays, and have adopted a guest room dedicated to Harper’s memory.

We went back on the adoption waiting list a few months after Harper’s passing and got matched up with our now 5 year old daughter Piper Leilani Bryan. Since Piper was born we have traveled to Walt Disney World numerous times, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, and multiple other vacations.

Sean and I have always had a passion for travel and went to Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Walt Disney World many times throughout our relationship. We live by the motto that Dory from Finding Nemo taught us, “Just Keep Swimming”. We learned the hard way that life is too short and there’s a whole world out there to see and experience. I began working for a travel agency in 2017 to help create magical memories for friends and family. Then, in August of 2020, Sean and I created our own travel agency, Sandpiper Vacations as a side business. About six months ago, I began focusing on the business full time. So it was perfect timing when, recently, Rick Shepherd pointed out that our business could support the House too, with the support of our customers. This was a huge sign that Harper is watching over Sean, me, and her sister Piper by helping lead us in the direction we want to go with our family business.

Sandpiper Vacations is a Concierge Travel Agency that can help with any detail of your vacation. We specialize in Disney, Universal, Cruises, and All Inclusive Resorts. We don’t charge any additional fees to book your vacation through us as we get paid directly from our suppliers. The prices we find are exactly the same price if you booked directly on your own. Using us as a travel advisor we can help save you time, stress, and sometimes some money as we continue to price monitor even after booking your trip to make sure you always have the best price. Our Travel Agency is a small business that is LGBTQ+ owned and operated out of Columbus with travel advisors around the country. You can visit us at sandpipervacations.com and request a free quote to plan your next vacation, family reunion, wedding, group trip, incentive trip, and so much more. Our services cost nothing extra. When you try to arrange your travel online yourself, the companies booking your visit make a commission, even though they may not be customizing your travel or answering your questions quickly. With our service, you get personalized attention so that we can help take the stress out of your trip planning.

When requesting a quote, be sure to let us know you were referred by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which can be found in a list at the bottom of the page to request a quote on our website, and Sandpiper Vacations will donate back 10% of profits to Ronald McDonald House Central Ohio.

Thank you for helping us continue Harper’s legacy by ensuring that families with babies in Columbus hospitals get the same help from RMHC lowering the stress we were going through in such a similar, stressful journey.