Meet the Davis Family

After Shannon and Chris welcomed beautiful twin girls Leah and Christina in 2014 into

Davis Family

the world, they faced complications. Shannon was admitted to Erlanger Hospital’s high risk unit. Shortly after admittance, Shannon and Chris received paramount news about their newborns that caused instant fear.

Leah was healthy and just needed to grow in the NICU but unfortunately, Christina faced a different road. For the past three years, she has been on a journey battling epilepsy and heart disease.

While the twins were in the hospital, the Davis family found a home at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House. They were

welcomed with open arms and open hearts.

“We love it at the House! There they don’t treat you like a burden. The people there will just hug you!” said Shannon

Shannon found a lot of comfort in the Ronald McDonald House while her daughters were in the NICU. She was able to lean on the staff and volunteers at the House while she cared for her daughters. Staying at the House gave her the ability to be close to the girls and see them at any time. She cherished a warm bed to sleep in while catching up from the hectic events of the day.

Fast forward to this past September, Shannon and Chris were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for the second time. Staying at the House gave them the opportunity to be close by while Christina had to go back to Erlanger to get various tests.

Today, Christina is back at home with her sister Leah and they are living life to the fullest. They have become best friends over the years!

Advertisements

Meet the Sharp Family

After spending nearly ten years trying to have a baby, Natalie and her husband Lance IMG_1752 received the best birthday gift she could receive on her birthday— the birth of her son McKade. Through patience and perseverance, they were blessed with two children within nine months of each other. How so? It just so happens that nine months prior to the birth of McKade, they adopted a beautiful girl named Marlee.

“We couldn’t believe it. We are so blessed to be Marlee’s parents and to find out that we were pregnant after years of trying was surreal,” said Natalie.

While giving birth, Natalie and McKade both picked up a virus that put them both in danger. Once McKade was born, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit where they discovered he had spinal meningitis, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. With a baby at home and a baby here at Erlanger Hospital Natalie and Lance found refuge at the Ronald McDonald house of Greater Chattanooga.

Staying at the Ronald McDonald house allowed them the ability to spend time with both of their babies. Being so close to Hospital, they had the ability to walk over at any time of the day or night to be able to feed and care for him. During the early evening, Marlee and her grandparents would go to the Ronald McDonald House to have dinner with her mom and dad.

While staying at the Ronald McDonald House, Natalie and Lance discovered they were staying in the exact same room that their family did seven years prior. The Ronald McDonald House has seen many families throughout the years and for them to be able to stay in the same room that their family also got to stay in was truly something special.

“I am overwhelmed by the ability to be able to stay here at the Ronald McDonald House,” said Natalie.

After a little over a week of staying at the House, McKade was able to grow healthy enough to leave the NICU. He is now at home with his mom, dad, and proud big sister.

Meet the Thompson Family

A few years ago, Katie and Dennis Thompson were given the gift of a newborn baby boy  OctoberFrontnamed Jaxon. Little did they know they would be given the same gift a few years later with baby Kaleb. Both sons happened to enter the world earlier than planned. Luckily, Katie and Dennis were able to stay at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House both times.

Their firstborn son, Jaxon, was born eight weeks early causing various issues. At the time, Katie and Dennis lived over an hour away from Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, where they specialized in preemie cases. Because of this, they immediately rushed Jaxon to Erlanger as quick as they could despite living over an hour away. They made it safely to the neonatal intensive care unit and Jaxon was able to receive the care he needed. However, he wasn’t the only one to be cared for; both Katie and Dennis were able to be taken care of at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House.

They enjoyed all the amenities provided including a private bedroom, full bathroom, dinner and snacks. Even while Jaxon was in the NICU, Katie’s mom was also able to stay with her while her husband worked. After 42 days, they returned home as a happy family of three.

Then fast forward to the birth of their second son Kaleb on August 24 of this year. He was born six weeks early and needed to receive care at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger NICU. Baby Kaleb was hooked up to a feeding tube and Katie and Dennis sought care at the Ronald McDonald House for the second time.

As they made themselves temporarily at home, they rested in the fact that they were able to stay together as a family. During their second stay, Jaxon was able to be with them at the House and enjoy the playroom.

“I don’t know what I would do without this place,” said Katie.

After 11 nights, they were able to return home with their newest son, Kaleb. Today, Kaleb has continued to grow into a fun-loving healthy little brother and son.

Meet the Cody Family

Sally and Kyle of Hayesville, North Carolina have three handsome boys, Jacob, Levi and IMG_5991their newest, Malachi born on July 11. Unfortunately, Malachi’s birth was followed up with worry and fear as he had episodes of apnea.

Since they live over two hours away from Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, they checked in to the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House. Albeit, this was not their first or second time staying at the House- it was their third.

“Without the Ronald McDonald House, it would be so stressful,” said Sally.

Their first stay was in 2009 for 12 days and then again in 2013 for 14. Both Jacob and Levi had traumatic experiences at birth in outlying hospitals where they had to be transferred into Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. Because of Jacob and Levi’s birth scares, Sally and Kyle decided to deliver Malachi at Erlanger—and they’re glad they did.

Because of Malachi’s apnea, he was monitered, had a CT scan, MRI, several blood tests and an echocardiogram to make sure his heart and lungs were performing correctly.

Over the course of a couple days, they received good news from his blood work and his apnea was doing better, they found out what he had was an iron deficiency. After 24 hours of taking iron supplements, the episodes resolved.

Thankfully, their third stay at the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House was their shortest stay of only four days. Sally and Kyle were just as grateful during their third stay as they were the first.

“We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. It’s always an overwhelming feeling.”

Today, Malachi is doing great without any issues and the family is loving their new son and little brother.

Louise Holland: Autumn Children’s Festival Volunteer Extraordinaire

The Ronald McDonald House Charities 28th annual Autumn Children’s Festival is coming

IMG_0773

Holland volunteering at the entrance check-in at the Autumn Children’s Festival

up Oct. 7 and 8 at the Tennessee Riverpark with lots of excitement for the carnival games, pony rides, inflatables and much more. It’s by far one of the greatest times of the year because it is not only a fundraiser to help support the Ronald McDonald House families, but it is also a way for the House to give back to the community.

While the Autumn Children’s Festival is great fun for the community, none of it is possible without the amazing volunteers that come out and serve each year. The charity sees volunteers of all ages and walks of life take time out of their busy schedule to help achieve the mission to help keep families close to their sick children in the hospital.

One volunteer in particular, Louise Holland, worked as an Autumn Children’s Festival greeter last year and brought so much joy to those who attended. Holland’s favorite part of volunteering was, “watching the excitement on all of the faces of the children running around the festival…”

Being a greeter at the Autumn Children’s Festival shows Holland that family’s value time with one another as they have the chance to unwind, make memories and just be with one another.

DSC_0926

Large crowds at last year’s Festival

What she enjoyed most from last year’s Festival was being able to experience it with her grandchildren. Volunteer time is broken up into shifts which allow volunteers to enjoy the festival. Holland commented that her grand kids had the “time of their lives;” they loved getting their hair sprayed, faces painted and taking pony rides. It is a joy to have volunteers like Louise Holland committed to volunteering at the Autumn Children’s Festival.

We greatly appreciate our volunteers—and our families appreciate it even more.

We have plenty of different ways you can volunteer at the Festival. If you are interested in helping volunteer this year, please contact Sarah Griffith at sarah.griffith@rmhchattanooga.com or visit our website.

Meet the Crenshaw Family

With Andre being the Tennessee Tech football coach and Ashley being a nurse, these AugustFronttwo know how important it is to be a caring team during hard times. Their son Kalin was born at 34 weeks weighing just over 3 lbs. As Kalin gained weight, Andre and Ashley of Cookeville, Tennessee were feeling hopeful.

Unexpectedly, Kalin was struggling with eating and needed a feeding tube. This meant that

Kalin would spend a good amount of time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Luckily, the new parents were able to check in to the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House.

During this process, not only were Andre and Ashley able to stay at the “House that Love Built,” but so was Andre’s mom Nancy who flew in from California. Ashley’s mom, Mary and sister Kayley were also able to stay close by and be supportive.

“It’s so nice to have family around and be able to grab food in the kitchen. We’re so close to the hospital instead of traveling over an hour away to and from each day,” Ashley said.

After just a few weeks, Kalin weighed 4 lbs. 3 oz. and was able to return home with their newest little teammate shortly after. Andre and Ashley stayed a total of 14 nights.

Meet the Maldonado Family

“I want a big piece of chocolate cake!” said soon-to-be 4-year-old Cezar.

His dad David piled a slice high with whipped cream in the Ronald McDonald House JulyFrontkitchen. Cezar’s face glowed with joy over his dessert while his mom Rebecca proceeded to share his journey with a rare sub-type of leukemia that only three percent of kids get.

With this being their second stay, they were grateful to be able to stay at the House again as Cezar only had to travel across the street for chemotherapy three hours a day. For Cezar, a little fever is a big deal. It was important for him to have easy access to the hospital.

“Being close to the hospital is a big deal for us. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to stay,” David said.

Cezar and his family prefer a warm cozy bed at the Ronald McDonald House rather than staying in the hospital hooked up to an IV pole.

“He likes it here much better!”

Currently, Cezar is doing well in remission and is taking it day by day.