‘Jared Boren was our son who passed away on May 10th,’ begins Kevin Boren, sharing his family’s experience with their son’s illness and stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Life-flighted in early May from Southern Utah to the ICU at Primary Children’s, Jared had been diagnosed with meningitis. While supporting their sweet son away from home, the Borens found comfort in the Ronald McDonald Family Room and were pleased to be able to sleep – and eat – so close to his patient room. Initially expected to make a full recovery, Jared’s health took a sudden, devastating turn. ‘First,’ continues Kevin, ‘the Ronald McDonald House was able to make room for my parents and my [three other] children that got to come say goodbye to their brother. Then the day of his passing we left the hospital… and as soon as we got out of the cars to the [House] Ollie was there. He is a labradoodle therapy dog that belongs to the House. We do not own a dog, but my children (including Jared whom we just lost) have always loved dogs. He was such a wonderful blessing to our family.’ The family came to the kitchen for a late lunch, and Ollie promptly adopted the Borens – first cuddling with Jared’s sister Katelynn and later snuggling with the entire family on the couch.
Kevin also relates how grateful the family was for the events and activities at the House, as a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ party was held that night that provided games, prizes, and a whole lot of loving attention that helped ease the burden of their loss. The Borens were also comforted by the memorial lamps in the House. ‘The McDonald House has been so special. They have a lamp they light only when one of their guest [families] have lost a family member… We had them print a photo of Jared to put by it. They also arranged for us to visit the Natural History Museum and a lunch. What a special place that provided so much love and comfort.’ There were both tears and laughter during the difficult days of Jared’s passing – and lots of hugs. The Boren family immediately began planning to return the compassion they had been given, and asked that friends and family attending Jared’s funeral bring new toys to donate to the House rather than sending flowers. Within a month both parents and all three siblings returned to the House with a carload of gifts, and filled the Magic Room to overflowing.
Kevin concluded his story by saying, ‘It was honestly hard to leave… It truly was a home-away-from-home during the most difficult time in our lives. To be able to provide us with so much comfort and love and smiles as soon as we lost our son was something I didn’t feel was possible. Thanks so much to the staff and that wonderful place.’ We’re so glad to have the Boren family as part of our family, and so grateful for their love and open hearts.