Our family journey with the Ronald McDonald Charities started when we found out in utero that our daughter would have some major complications, a partial chromosome 13 deletion, that would shorten her life expectancy drastically. We expected Kadlin’s pregnancy to end in a stillbirth. She was born July 16, 2014 in the Utah Valley Hospital, which is over an hour away from our home. There were almost no resources for our family to stay close to that hospital. When it looked like Kadlin was going to live longer than originally expected, it was suggested that we transfer care to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, which is about 2.5-3 hours away from our home in Rural Utah. There was the Ronald McDonald Family room in Primary’s and the House only 2 miles down the road from the hospital. Going to Primary’s would give our family the resources needed so we could stay close to our girl while she was fighting for her life. We transferred Kadlin 2 days after her birth.
Kadlin stayed in the NICU for 2.5 months. While we were there we overwhelmed with love and compassion from everyone that worked in either the House or the Family Room. We had a safe and fun place we could take our son Conor (2 at the time) when sitting by a hospital bed became too much. We had a place to sleep at night that was also generous with food, two of the most basic needs of survival. We could make lunch and take it to the hospital with us, meals were provided almost daily. All hygiene needs could be found there. There was always something Conor could do. Toys, crafts, books, anything a 2year old could imagine! There is a beautiful piano I can use to decompress and destress. A kitchen to meet other families and connect with those going through similar experiences.
After we went home from the NICU we knew it was just the start of our time at the hospital. Over the beautiful 4.5 years Kadlin has been with us, we as a family have spent a significant amount of time at the House. We have been here through illnesses, a million doctor visits, holidays, birthdays, and a few near death experiences with Kadlin. We’ve been here overnight and months at a time. Through it all we have had a few constant factors. We have always been treated with kindness, empathy, caring, compassion, generosity and charity. We have made priceless friends. We were given the priceless gift of family pictures when we thought they might be the last we had together. We have been able to witness the best of humanity.
The emotional ups and downs with Kadlin’s complex life can be rough on our family, but we always know we have the Ronald McDonald house to catch us during our difficult times. And we know they will continue to enrich our lives.