Our family’s first time at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) London was in 2008 when our daughter, Coralyn, was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Dandy-Walker Variant. At just 6 months, she needed surgery so a VP Shunt could drain excess fluid building up in her brain. Thankfully, we were able to stay by her side with the help of RMH London – from the first time we stayed it felt like we had a “home-away-from-home”. Our bedroom at the House became our “home base” – somewhere to have a break, shower, and have a moment to ourselves outside the hospital environment.
In 2019 Ronald McDonald House became our sanctuary once again for what ended up being our longest stay of 81 days. Coralyn became very ill, and after 2 emergency hospital visits, she was admitted for surgery. The doctors had found infections in her second set of sinuses, blood clots had formed throughout her brain, and she had a stroke along with all this. Her hospital experience was difficult as she endured several procedures, with one concern leading to another. When you are in a state of constant worry, one thing that makes it easier is having the security of a home to go to – being able to spend time on weekends as a family with her 2 siblings at the House meant the world.
I have many positive memories at RMH London, but the best was the first day Coralyn was allowed to come over for a visit – It had been 2 months since she last left the hospital. While the short walk over was still exhausting for her, she enjoyed sitting on the living room couch and laying in a non-hospital bed!
The day we found out Coralyn was going home, we surprised our family back home in Ingersoll. They thought we were only staying for a short visit, so tears filled their eyes when they found out we were home for good! Many emotions during this time, mainly being grateful we had a “home-away-from-home” that kept us close to her through it all.
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