by Coty Galbreath (Kinley’s Daddy)
I was a resident again at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA). Our first experience was when our daughter, Kinley, was born. At the gestation of 26 weeks our world was turned upside down. Our home is in Hamilton, AL but we were quickly airlifted to Birmingham. I quickly realized while in Birmingham we couldn’t drive back and forth. The social worker at UAB introduced us to the charity. We checked into the House with all the amenities of home!
It was smooth sailing after we checked out. Kinley was growing, starting school, making friends, and beginning to be everything a parent wanted to see.
On September 2014, Kinley woke up with a continuous headache and spells of dizziness. Our local physician was stumped, but did not hestiate in sending her to Children’s of Alabama. Once she arrived, Kinley’s symptoms continued to worsen. Now keep in mind Kinley was like most of your children, the perfect image of health. In a period of less than 12 hours of admittance she fell paralyzed from the neck down loosing the abilities of speech, movement, swallowing, proper bowel functions, and many other motor movements that we as healthy individuals take for granted. Kinley’s case was confirmed as Accute Flaccid Myelitis linked to Enterovirus D68.
Kinley’s condition is so new — with less than 100 cases across the United States — there is no formal treatment at this time. Needless to say, it has been a scary, bumpy road with many more miles to go. It was excellent news when we found out we were able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House. The hospital was planning to release her on January 5th and give her the opportunity to do therapy closer to home. On January 3rd, the phone rang with terrible news; Kinley’s home had been severely devastated by a tornado just hours after the wheelchair ramp was installed. Our plans had to change and Kinley didn’t leave the hospital until the first of February. Today, Kinley’s condition has improved with minor movements but she is nowhere near the child she was before paralyzed.
I would like to tell you what the Ronald McDonald House means to me. The experience of having a place to stay, just walking distance to my daughter’s room, is a feeling unlike any other when I can’t physically be there with her. I truly believe this organization is a key player in the livelihood of parents that have children in nearby medical facilities. There is no replacement for the peace of mind you have while staying here! I know from the first week of hotel stays and over $1,000 spent I wouldn’t have been able to be here for Kinley. For that I want to say thank you for letting me be part of your family and sharing this great facility with mine!