Published: Dec 12, 2017
Two-year old Maria loves the playroom at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. Every night after eating dinner, whether her Mom is done eating or not, Maria confidently runs to the playroom to be with her friends.
Maria’s mom, Farah, says that playing with other children and making friends was not something she was able to do freely back home in Palestine. “At home, we don’t leave our house because other children make fun of Maria. But here at he Ronald McDonald House, no one does that.”
Maria was born in 2015 with a venous malformation of her lip. The family spent months seeking treatment for her condition, but the treatments available in Palestine were proving to be ineffective, while the medical bills continued to pile up. As a final effort, Farah and her husband reached out to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, who knew the answer: Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children and the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware.
Farah and Maria made the daunting journey to the United States earlier this year. Farah had never left her town before, but traveled through two international airports for over 30 hours with a baby. When they finally arrived to Wilmington, she said America was “surreal and everything I thought it would be.”
While Maria receives treatment on her lip, mom and daughter stay at the Ronald McDonald House. They have enjoyed the activities and found a comforting “home-away-from-home” even though they are halfway across the world from home. Farah is taking English classes with one of the House volunteers, and her goal is to know English confidently by the time they go home.
Maria’s favorite part about the House, of course, is the playroom and Farah says that is has been amazing watching her daughter make friends and socialize. “She has been able to make friends and develop a personality. She has been able to gain social skills because she is surrounded by other children who do not treat her differently because of her medical condition.”
Farah shared that the most memorable thing about staying at the Ronald McDonald House has been the people. “I will not forget the faces of the staff and volunteers here. You can tell the difference between a genuine smile and one that is not… and all of their smiles and care come from the heart. They help me forget all of the medical things that are going on with Maria.”
Doctors expect a great improvement in Maria’s venous malformation on her lip and the Abuali family is looking forward to going home in the coming months.
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