Ronald McDonald House strives to keep families near their children while they are receiving the medical attention they need. The first time Paige and Brian Runyon stayed they were here with their 6-year-old daughter, Ansleigh, for 30 days while their newborn twins, Wallace and Whitleigh, recovered. The second time, mom, dad and Ansleigh stayed for about a week while Whitleigh mended from her second procedure.
When baby Whitleigh was born the Runyons were given news that her body was unable to properly process food. She has VACTERL association, a condition that involves vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities. Those diagnosed with VACTERL association typically have at least three of these, but surprisingly she was born with all except limb abnormalities.
“It was scary the first time we were here, but once here for a little while it became our second home,” shared Paige.
Little Whitleigh may have to have several procedures still, but after her “pull through surgery” it is clear she was born to climb mountains and overcome the odds. By the way she smiles and interacts with people, you would have no idea she had complications.
Before leaving, Paige shared some advice to other parents with sick children, “Just breathe, because if you’re uptight and stressed your children can feel it. There’s always a friendly face here and someone to talk to.”