The Gossett Family

Richard, Gavin & Debra Gossett

From: Harrison, TN

Five years ago, Richard and Debra Gossett had their first baby, a boy named Gavin. Debra had some complications during her pregnancy and when Gavin was born he spent some time in the NICU and they were able to stay at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House. Little did they know the second pregnancy would follow a similar path.

In 2018, the Gossett family found out they were going to have twins. Within nine short weeks of receiving that news, Debra miscarried one of the babies. This news hit them hard, but they continued to be hopeful that their other baby girl, Cambria Faith, would be born.

At 29 weeks, Debra’s water broke early and she spent 13 days in the hospital anxiously awaiting their baby girl. After their many struggles, Cambria was born on February 2nd and placed in intensive care. In addition to being born several weeks early, she was born on a CPAP machine and had a couple of “brady episodes,” this is where the body pauses in breathing that normally lasts longer than 20 seconds.

Checking in to the Ronald McDonald House, Debra and Richard felt a huge relief. Though they didn’t live too far away in Harrison, Richard still had to go to work every day with the family car. Without Ronald McDonald House Debra wouldn’t have been able to stay right beside her baby girl.

“She was in the hospital for such a long time before the baby came. Gavin and I had to go back and forth and stay at the hospital until bedtime every day and then repeat that routine the next day. Now, being able to have the family back together, that’s what this has allowed us to do, get back together again. It’s helped [Gavin] a lot because he was having a hard time.” – Richard, dad

When asked what their experience was like staying here, both parents admitted there were several big things that offered a lot of relief for them. Being able to have their son Gavin with them, visit Cambria right across the street and not having to think about the other expenses, such as meals.

“Ronald McDonald House goes above and beyond to make sure there is comfort. We’ve had so many people offer to help us and we just feel like every little need is met here. It’s just surreal.” – Debra, mom

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The Lane Family

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Meet the Lane family!

From: Tullahoma, TN

You truly never know what will happen. Tyler and Veronica stayed at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House two years ago when their oldest son was born prematurely. Little did they know they would need it again when their second child was born.

Logan Lane was born Saturday, January 26 weighing 8lb 6 oz.  Just two days later he developed what doctors assumed was only a small infection and he was admitted to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger at 2 o’clock in the morning. Just a few hours later, the Lane family was able to be checked into the House and felt blessed and relieved to be able to stay close to their son across the street.

When asked about their stay at the House, Tyler stated, “We love it here! The food, your own room and a bed, it just has a ‘homie’ feeling.”

Though not normally found in newborns, doctors tested and treated Baby Logan for Fifth Disease, a highly contagious illness causing a distinctive face rash. The Lane family stayed at the House for 25 days while Logan recovered.

“I didn’t know about the Ronald McDonald House before we stayed the first time,” shared Veronica, mom. It’s good to be able to stay close when you have a baby or family member in the hospital. It’s a lot of stress to think about a two hour drive.”

The Runyon family

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From: Rocky Face, GA

Meet the Runyon family! Almost two years ago, they first stayed at Ronald McDonald House Chattanooga when their twins were born. They have benefited from the Share A Night fund many times as Whitleigh, the girl twin, has VACTERL association: vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies and limb abnormalities. In total, the Runyon family was able to stay 46 nights! To this day, Whitleigh has already received six different surgeries and still has several more planned within the next year.

Without the RMHC Share-A-Night Fund, they would have been worried about yet another bill during a time that Whitleigh needed them most. Giving the Runyon’s, and other countless families, a place full of hope and close to resources Whitleigh needed – that’s what you can help provide.   

Just like expenses have increased at your house, RMHC’s cost to provide our services to each family have increased too. During 2018, we added 2 rooms to be able to serve more families and thanks to your generous support, we were able to serve 517 families last year.  In addition, there is now 24-hour staff in place to accommodate the family’s needs at any given time. With your help, we are providing services to a lot of families. Will you continue to support our Share-A-Night Fund so that every family can concentrate on their sick child and not worry about the cost of staying near their child?  Will you please help?  $75 provides everything a family needs each night!

Whether you give one time or decide to join our monthly giving club, your gift will help lift the financial burden of so many families like Paige, Brian, Ansleigh, Wallace and Whitleigh’s. THANK YOU for being a part of this mission!

Meet the Foster family

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From: McCaysville, GA

Jessica and Joe Foster, after trying to conceive for seven years, were told they were going to have a little girl. But, Jessica’s pregnancy did not come without complications. At 13 weeks Jessica began having problems. Doctors determined Jessica’s body was having issues that could ultimately cause a late miscarriage or even a preterm birth. She was scheduled for an operation right away and went in for a surgical procedure that doctors hoped would help prevent her body from doing so.

At 27 weeks Jessica began having contractions and had signs of early labor. She was brought from her home town in Georgia to Erlanger and they kept her for about five days. Since it was apparent Jessica needed to be watched for signs and the possibility of her going in to premature labor, arrangements were made for her and her mom, Cherie, to stay at Ronald McDonald House.

Jessica and her mother stayed for a little over a month as her body tried to go into premature labor every week, but doctors told her if she could make it to 34 weeks, they would release her to go home.

From the moment Jessica, Joe and Cherie arrived at Ronald McDonald House, they felt a sense of relief and support.

It definitely feels like a home. A home away from home. Every time we go somewhere we say ‘Okay, we’re going home’. It’s a really nice feeling to be able to come here. It’s a wonderful place.” – Cherie, Jessica’s mom.

After Jessica was able to go two weeks without delivering, she was able to make it home for Christmas. The family is thankful for all the love and support they found at Ronald McDonald House. After being home for the holidays, they welcomed Lakota Jane Foster just in time for the New Year!

Meet the Sanchez family

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From: Dalton, GA

In July, Maria and Isaias grew concerned when their son’s headaches just didn’t seem to go away. They knew it was time to seek medical advice and they wanted someone to put them at ease over their son’s symptoms, but they were unprepared for what they learned.

On July 19, Isaias (Misa) Sanchez was diagnosed with a tumor. Though the shock never fully went away, they took action as fast as possible to get him to an oncologist. After the appointment with oncology, Misa was diagnosed with a glioblastoma tumor (also called GBM).

While Misa was receiving treatments and the appropriate medical care, the Sanchez family was able to stay 44 nights at Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House. Though it was their first time staying at the Ronald McDonald House, the Sanchez family had heard many great things about the services offered.

“We heard it was a nice place and they helped a lot of people. We knew we came to a good place to stay.” – Mom and Dad

With all the challenges they were already facing, for mom, dad and Misa, it was hard not having the youngest member of the family, Eric, and other family members close by their side. Even after saying that, the Sanchez family related how the Ronald McDonald House felt like a home and was a sense of comfort for them.

“They treat you like you’re at home” -Mom

Most of all, the Sanchez Family wanted future families to know, “You’re coming to a good, safe place to stay and you’re here to be helped.

RMHC gives families with sick kids the gift of togetherness and keeps them near the care and resources they need.

Meet the Valdez family

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From: Jacksonville, NC

When Hurricane Florence was headed directly towards North Carolina, towns along the coast were being evacuated as quickly as possible. As soon as Ana Valdez found out her family would have to leave, she quickly made plans to go to a shelter in Nashville. They were packed and on the road as quickly as possible, but never made it to their destination.

At 3:30 a.m. Ana Valdez woke up to her car flipped over a bridge and in 20 foot deep water somewhere in the Marion County area. There was no time to think about what happened, she grabbed her kids and they made their way out. She placed her youngest son, Josiah, on her back and told the other two boys, Ravon and King,  to stick together. She just hoped and prayed they would make it out. Once on the main highway, they waited for someone to stop for what seemed to be hours. Ana didn’t know how bad their injuries might be, but she had lost a lot of blood.

“I thought I was going to die out there. I just wanted to get to the hospital and make sure my kids were going to be okay.”

Eventually a cop arrived and an ambulance came soon after. They were taken to Erlanger and after tests, Ana found out she had a crack in her back, a broken leg and bruised limbs, but thankfully the boys came away with only minor injuries.

“When we got to the hospital, the people were so nice and took good care of us. They knew we had nothing, since everything was left at the scene. A couple of nurses came back with shoes and some clothes for us.”

The hospital nurses, along with a social worker, helped them make plans for shelter. Though Ana was thankful they were all safe, she was worried about going to a shelter and trying to care for her boys in her condition.

“The social worker came back and told me we were going to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. I was really happy and I felt really blessed. Here at RMHC they help you. They helped my kids and talked to them and made them feel comfortable. For a little while, Josiah, the  youngest was scared to go to sleep, but being in a safe place helped him.”

While staying at the Ronald McDonald House, several staff members and volunteers helped the family. Ana was worried and stressed about needing clothes, and clothes were donated. She didn’t know where to go next, but was helped with a plan to get her family to Texas.

Ana shared this advice for future families coming to stay at Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House, “This is a blessing and this is probably one of the greatest places to be at. It’s a place to take the stress off and not worry.”

Meet Milley, Zack and Baby Pheobie

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From: Charleston, Tenn.

Milley and Zack  had their little girl on May  18, 2018. Before Pheobie was born, there were little to no complications or indications of a problem during pregnancy. Physically, their little girl looked to be developing normally.

Soon after birth, Pheobie Butler started developing complications.  The first indication of a problem was her sugar dropping below 10. After that things sort of snowballed, Pheobie had two seizures and then stopped breathing twice. It took some time to discover what exactly she was dealing with, but the doctors concluded that a part of her brain did not fully develop.

Within a few weeks, Pheobie was diagnosed with hypopituitarism, hypoglycemia and hypoinsulinemia problems. Though it’s not rare to have one or two of these complications, it’s practically unheard of to have all three. The only two studies were those found in the 50s and 60s, but even those were based on humans with only two of the problems.  Baby Phoebie is the only human in the world to have been diagnosed with this as of July 2018.

Mom, dad and grandparents checked into the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House a week after she was born.

“After checking in, we felt relieved and thankful that we didn’t have to stay in a waiting room anymore, shared,” Zack, dad.

Milley shared how the biggest source of comfort for her was, “Knowing we weren’t rushed to be in and out, but cared for and didn’t have to leave until everything was taken care of for our baby.”

Other than having a place to stay, Zack and Milley were thankful for the friendly people, having dinner prepared for them, a place for laundry and just people to talk to and understand their situation.

Now, Milley, Zack and baby Pheobie visit Erlanger once a week to pickup her medication. Since Pheobie’s disease is so rare, her medications have to be specifically mixed for her. Though these complications could have held her back, she is still a happy growing and smiling baby.