Marianne Sharbel Legacy Society 

Zayden’s Story

Photos of Juanakee holding her infant son, Zayden.

When Zayden was born early at 29 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, it was mid-November 2020 and his family was facing a daunting holiday season.

His mom, Juanakee, needed care herself and was stressed by the idea of having to drive 2 hours each way from Demopolis to Birmingham to hold, feed and love on Zayden while he was in the NICU.

“Zayden’s early arrival was such a surprise I hadn’t even bought a car seat yet,” she says.

Juanakee is grateful to have had the Ronald McDonald House to rely on for a place to rest, socialize with other parents and stay healthy during the pandemic.

“It makes me calmer to talk to other parents,” she says. “And having meals ready at the end of the day…as a new mom you don’t think about eating. Coming back, seeing everyone, hearing there’s dinner ready in the kitchen is a reminder to eat and take care of myself.”

Zayden celebrated his first Thanksgiving and Christmas while in the hospital with his mom by his side, thanks to you.

“I can’t thank you enough for giving to the Ronald McDonald House,” she says. “Your love is a weight off me.”