Dear Friend of RMHC-San Diego,
My husband Eduardo and I are the parents of three children: Julian (12), Gael (7), and Bella (10 months). We live in Bakersfield and were just heading home from vacation when Julian started showing signs of the flu. He got weaker so fast. He wouldn’t eat, and we couldn’t keep him awake. We called an ambulance and rushed to the hospital here in San Diego.
What might have been a severe case of COVID-19 for an otherwise healthy child turned out to be something totally unexpected: acute heart failure, linked to a previously unknown heart defect.
I was still in shock when the hospital social worker said a room was waiting for us at the Ronald McDonald House, where we could rest and stay close to our son. I actually said no! I was in denial, still thinking that the problem would be fixed, and we’d be home soon. With a little push, we finally left the hospital and checked in across the street.
At first, I didn’t believe it. I wanted to get a second opinion, but the doctors warned that he wouldn’t survive without intensive care right away. Julian went on life support. We cycled between disbelief, fear, and prayers during the worst night of our lives.
The Ronald McDonald House took care of us before we even knew what we needed. A place to sleep, cry, shower, and eat. Toiletries and a change of clothes. Plus three meals daily, so I didn’t have to worry about finding food. Everyday worries were the least of my concerns, thanks to the support we found at the San Diego Ronald McDonald House.
Julian needed a heart transplant to live. I stayed at his side, day in and day out as machines kept him going. He could hear me, even if he couldn’t respond. Whatever the outcome, I wanted to be there for it. On April 1, a heart became available, and Julian had his surgery.
It’s been scary. Julian had a stroke, which weakened his right side. But he’s gotten stronger, and at the end of April, he was approved to join us at the Ronald McDonald House. It was so convenient to just cross the street for occupational and physical therapy as he worked to regain his strength and coordination. At the end of October, we were able take him home.
We’re so amazed and grateful that a heart transplant could save Julian’s life, and that the Ronald McDonald House could keep us at his side. When Julian was tired and discouraged, his little brother could motivate him and make him laugh. You helped keep these brothers together.
We never expected to need the Ronald McDonald House. With each night’s sleep, each meal, each smile, Ronald McDonald House supporters have helped keep us strong. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving to keep this wonderful place going for families like ours.
P.S. Being together at the Ronald McDonald House is an incredible gift.
Please help more families with a gift today!