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Patterson Family Story: From guests to volunteers

A father and mother hold their children for a photo.Jay and Sami Patterson’s journey began when their daughter Hadley was born 10 weeks early, weighing a mere 3 pounds 8 ounces. Her arrival was both joyful and frightening, as her early birth required her to stay in the UAB CCN for a month.

During this critical time, being close to her was essential for the family. This is where the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB, supported by generous donors, became their sanctuary.

The convenience of staying at the Ronald McDonald House, made possible by donor contributions, cannot be overstated according to Jay.

“We firmly believe Hadley’s excellent progress was due in large part to our ability to physically be there for her,” Jay says. “We were able to feed her, change her diapers, and as a nurse herself, Sami could keep up with progress reports from the doctors and NICU nurses.”

Hadley is now two years old and thriving, with no health issues or developmental delays. Although she is still tiny for her age, her resilience is a testament to the care and support she received from her parents, all thanks to the kindness of donors like you. Looking at her now, it’s hard to believe she was born 10 weeks early.

Thankfully during Hadley’s NICU stay, Jay was able to work remotely and Sami delayed her maternity leave and kept working her job as an RN at UAB’s Kirkland Clinic. When it was time for them to go home, Sami could fully utilize her maternity leave without having to sacrifice precious moments with Hadley.

Your donations and volunteer hours continue to provide a haven for families like the Pattersons, and relieves the financial burden of long-term medical care. Jay and Sami were able to keep working during Hadley’s hospital stay, but many other parents have to take a leave of absence from working.

“I wish more people knew that the Ronald McDonald House welcomes everyone, regardless of income level,” Jay says. “When your child is ill, the cost of staying in a hotel for months is unaffordable. RMHCA alleviates that burden.”

In fact, your support made such an impression on Jay and Sami that they recently volunteered at the House with their coworkers from Coosa Consulting!

A man and a woman pose for a photo

The team dreamed up a fun, summer-themed carnival that current guest parents and children could enjoy. Complete with popcorn, door prizes, face painting and more, the carnival gave guest families a couple of hours of relaxing fun. Volunteering fulfilled Jay and Sami’s desire to help families going through something similar.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB sitting area includes two recliners and a couch set up around the TV.

Jay and Sami also benefited from our Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB and wants more people to know that they’re powering this space when you donate to RMHCA!

“As a mother, RMHCA provided me with an immense sense of relief and security,” Sami says. “The Ronald McDonald Family Room was a sanctuary where I could rest and rejuvenate because I knew I was just minutes away from Hadley.”

The Family Room offers everything needed for a prolonged stay—breakfast, lunch, coffee, snacks, and a refrigerator. This setup allows families, even those staying at the Ronald McDonald House across the street, to remain within the hospital, ensuring they are always close to their child.

Jay and Sami are forever grateful for the comfort and stability the Ronald McDonald House provided them, all thanks to donors like you. When you volunteer or donate to RMHCA, you provide more than just a place to stay; you provide peace of mind, convenience, and crucial support during one of the most challenging times in a family’s life.

By donating to the Ronald McDonald House, you are making a direct impact on families like the Pattersons, helping them navigate difficult times with a bit more ease and a lot more hope.