Dear Ronald McDonald House,
Our second child, Braylon, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in September 2013. Two days after his birth, he required open-heart surgery and we stayed inpatient at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (JHACH) in St. Petersburg for six weeks.
While he was there, my wife Karen and I sought assistance from RMHC to be close to him in the hospital. We stayed in the St. Petersburg West House for the duration of his stay.
In March 2014, Braylon required another open-heart surgery and stayed inpatient at JHACH again for three weeks. During this stay, we were blessed again to be able to utilize RMHC and stayed at the St. Petersburg Central House. Later, in May 2017, he required another open-heart surgery, this time at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa.
We weren’t sure if the Tampa House would be adequate for this journey, but we chose to sign up at the house for this hospital stay. It ended up being a bigger blessing than what we anticipated, as his inpatient stay was longer and more difficult than expected. We were in the hospital and residents of RMHC Tampa for 32 days this time.
During these trying times, there are many things a family must contend with. Where to stay close to your child in the hospital, when and what to eat, how you’ll be able to keep clean clothes, and who you will be able to talk to about what you’re going through.
We never had to worry about any of those things at RMHC.
RMHC provided so much needed support, not only from the staff and volunteers, but also other families staying in the house. It was comforting to be surrounded by other families in similar circumstances, knowing what each other were going through and connecting in various ways to be there for each other while being completely vested in what our children needed.
We’ve had nothing but a wonderfully positive experience, and we will always be grateful for everything we were provided and learned from RMHC. We hope to inspire others in our community to continue lift up and support this wonderful charity and help it grow, help it continue to impact families like ours, and help spread the word of how it provides so much in such difficult times in any family’s life when it’s needed most.
The Steinke Family