RMHCA provides peace of mind for heart family
Before 6-week-old Braxton was even born, his mom knew that he had a serious heart condition.
Thankfully, Braxton was born full-term, just before Christmas and his mother Jennifer and grandmother Jerri were able to be at the Ronald McDonald House during his first days of life.
The family went home to Mobile just after Christmas but returned in early January because of Braxton’s condition. During Braxton’s first open heart surgery, doctors realized his heart wasn’t big enough for them to safely repair it. So now, the family is waiting for Braxton to grow bigger.
Jennifer and Jerri spend most of their days in Braxton’s room, just a block away from the House.
“Staying at the Ronald McDonald House has been a major blessing for us. The stress relief alone is astounding to know we have a room over here,” Jerri says.
“It’s really nice and gives us peace of mind that the House is literally one block from the hospital,” Jennifer says. “We can come here and know that if anything were to change, we can be back with Braxton in four minutes.”
Braxton has a complicated situation, making it very stressful for his family. In one day, he had two EKGs, an ex-ray, and a CT scan on top of his normal round of visits from the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
“It gets very stressful at the hospital listening to monitors beeping 24/7, having different nurses coming in and out, meeting people,” Jennifer explains. “It’s nice to come into a space that we can call our own. I can say, ‘Hey Mom, I’m going to walk over to the house real quick,’” Jennifer says.
“And we call it home because it is home right now,” Jerri says.
All of the features that make the Ronald McDonald House feel like home are free to Braxton’s family and so many others because of the generosity of our supporters and tireless work of volunteers.
“It’s the location, the bed, laundry, the food and meals. We’ve been here a month. If you were to take 27 times $120 at a hotel, that’s thousands of dollars that staying here has saved us,” Jennifer says.
For Jennifer and Jerri, the people make all the difference too.
“The families, the people who work here, and the volunteers are all just so nice. Just them being friendly is a big part of getting us through the day,” Jennifer says. “When they say kindness goes a long way, it really does.”
“Our whole world exists in a 3-block radius right now,” Jerris says while tearing up. “We haven’t seen our family, we haven’t seen our dogs. The kindness is just a balm on your soul.”
Jennifer and Jerri are taking each day as it comes and they hope that Braxton can start putting on weight, which will go a long way to preparing him for his next heart surgery.
“It’s hard to put into words what you need when you’re in this situation,” Jennifer says.
“And RMH provides all of the essentials for as normal of a life as you can have when you’re four hours from home with a baby in the hospital,” Jerri finishes. “The people who donate and volunteer give us the peace of mind for us to focus on getting Braxton better.”
You can provide the financial, emotional and physical support that families need by making a gift today to RMHCA or by learning about all the other ways to help. We thank you for supporting families like Braxton’s!