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Giles Family Story: An extra special birthday

A man and woman hold a babyThe Giles family feels extra grateful to celebrate daughter Elizabeth’s first birthday this year!

Due to an unforeseen medical issue, mother Melanie had to deliver Elizabeth about seven weeks early. Baby Elizabeth spent another four weeks in the NICU gaining weight and finishing her development.

“We were just so blessed by RMHCA and other organizations during that time,” Melanie says. “For her birthday this year, we wanted her to learn about her story and bless some other babies.”

Instead of toys or clothes, Melanie and her husband Scott asked loved ones to make a donation to RMHCA in Elizabeth’s honor.

The Giles and their support system raised $550 and we are so grateful to their generosity, which will help other moms and children currently staying at our Ronald McDonald House or using the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB Women & Infants’ Center.

You too can help moms and children! Making a donation in honor of a mother figure in your life will help keep RMHCA’s services free to the families we serve.

The Giles family is an example of a guest family who lives close enough to the hospital that they don’t utilize a room at our House, but can still stay near to their baby and on top of their medical plan by visiting the Ronald McDonald Family Room.

The Family Room is located within the UAB Regional NICU and offers an open space where parents can step away to rest, make phone calls or eat without disturbing their infant.

Melanie, a teacher, and her mother, Janice, a travel agent, were able to continue working during Elizabeth’s NICU stay because of the Family Room. Providing a space where parents can still earn income during a medical emergency is a critical way RMHCA can support guests!

“We also had meals every week day in the Family Room,” Melanie says, which gave them back precious time to stay near Elizabeth.A woman holds an infant

The Ronald McDonald Family Room also offers parents and caregivers a washer and dryer, 3 sleep rooms and 3 full bathrooms with showers. One of the most important aspects though is the social support network.

“It’s difficult to just walk into someone’s room. You want to keep distance from an immunocompromised baby,” Melanie says. “So the Family Room allows that space of community like-minded people who are experiencing the same trauma. We can connect in a calming and safe space, because it is extremely traumatic to birth a child and go back to your home where that child isn’t.”

Melanie and her family are grateful for the many services RMHCA is able to provide families who have a child in the hospital. We hope that their story inspires you to become involved by making a gift today or by volunteering!