Imagine a mother’s typical daily routine with a husband and two sons. Working, assigning chores, driving kids all over, helping with homework, and so much more. What sounds like a typical day for many of us is so often taken for granted. In April of 2019, a routine day for the Dickerson family evaporated with an unexpected visit to an Owensboro trauma room, where 9-year-old Reid received an emergency CT scan revealing a mass on his brain. “Our son’s health was at risk, and our lives were completely disrupted,” shared mom April Dickerson. “Reid was immediately transferred to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, over 100 miles away from his home and family. We spent the next 30 days by his side and very far from home.”
A hospital social worker understood the importance of families being near their critically ill or injured children and introduced the Dickerson’s to the Louisville Ronald McDonald House. By being just a few blocks from the hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana (RMHCK) enables parents to spend more time with their hospitalized children, interact with the medical providers, and participate in care decisions.
“Reid’s initial treatments required 30 consecutive days at the hospital – we couldn’t imagine leaving Reid’s side and returning home. By staying at the Ronald McDonald House, our stress was reduced, and we were able to be strong, rested, and supportive of Reid. The programs, volunteers, and other guest families provided meals, support, and healthy distractions for Reid’s brother Cabe,” added April. “We had no idea where this journey would take us, and for the next 15 months, we returned to the House many times.”
Reid underwent neurosurgery, 33 radiation treatments, nine chemotherapy cycles, and too many MRIs and therapy sessions to count. “All of our attention and energy was focused on Reid’s health. It would have been much harder if we had been separated or had to worry about a hotel and meals. The Ronald McDonald House is so much more than a house. It was our home when we needed it most.” Reid’s treatments ended in July 2020, and he and the entire Dickerson family are thrilled to be returning to life as usual.
In 2020, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana expanded the House’s capacity to 56 guestrooms, giving more families the gift of togetherness. Guest families stay an average of 7.6 nights at the cost of $821, or $108 per night, but payment is never expected or requested. Thanks to generous donors, families receive, free of charge, a private bedroom and bath, access to laundry facilities, meals, play spaces, and programs that offer support and a much-needed break from the stress they face at the hospital.
Help keep families together. Your support makes sure families are together when they need each other most and can focus on what’s important – the health of their child. Your dollars go directly to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana to host families from Southern Indiana and much of Kentucky. A $50 donation will purchase cleaning supplies to ensure the House is adequately sanitized during COVID-19. A one night stay for a family is covered with a gift of $108, and $756 will cover an entire week.