Pulling Together for Families

Bethany holding Coen in the hospital

Our son, Coen, was born prematurely at 32 weeks. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 30 weeks, and just two weeks later, my placenta started to fail, and Coen was born by emergency c-section at our local hospital in Gracey, KY.

Coen weighed just 4 lbs 8 oz at birth. After several setbacks, he was transferred to Norton’s Children Hospital in Louisville, a 3-hour drive from our home. He was in the NICU for 152 days. While at Norton’s, he had to have a trach and gastrostomy tube put in as well as three surgeries to fix his intestines and some hernias that developed from being intubated for several weeks.

We were so thankful to have the opportunity to stay at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana (RMHC) and be by his side throughout his journey. My husband and I would alternate being in Louisville with Coen throughout the week, and on the weekends I would bring our other kids to all be together as a family.

The comforts of home that Ronald McDonald House provided meant so much to our family and offered much-needed respite during a stressful time. To have the comfort of a shower and a bed to sleep in was amazing, especially compared to the chair in the NICU with all the beeps of alarms and people constantly coming in and out. To eat a meal as a family and not worry about costs was such a lifted weight. The staff was amazing too! They made our other kids feel loved and comforted, bringing them goody bags, puzzles, stuffed animals, and blankets.

I knew that I wanted to give back to the organization that had given my family and me so much during such a traumatic time. While we were staying at RMHCK, I asked friends to collect pull tabs to help support the House. And they delivered on that request!! My neighbor asked her school to collect for us and several of my coworkers brought me pull tabs to deliver to the House! So far, we’ve been able to bring 22 gallons! We are honored to bring them down when we make our trips to Louisville for follow-up appointments for Coen. Every time we visit for a night, the staff welcomes our family with welcoming arms, making us feel like we’re home.

We wouldn’t have been able to stay beside our son as he recovered, and we wouldn’t have been able to be together as a family if it weren’t for the Ronald McDonald House. We can’t thank Ronald McDonald House enough for their kindness to our family. We are so thankful for the AMAZING staff and the volunteers who help make the house a “home-away-from-home”.

The Surrett family is so thankful for the wonderful things you all do!


Thomas and Bethany, Ginny, Remy, Coen, and Ellie

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