Published: Dec 12, 2019
During a mission trip to India, Tom and Dawn Cosgrove met Parimala at an orphanage when she was just two years old. After a lengthy adoption process, they finally brought her home more than five years later.
During the time they were waiting to bring Parimala home to Grahamsville, New York, the Cosgroves knew she would need specialized medical care for her rare dwarfism. All of their research led them to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
With the relief of finalizing the adoption and finding medical care, the Cosgroves faced their next challenge: traveling over 200 miles each way to Wilmington in order to get to the hospital.
In addition to the stress of travel, there was the worry of cost; Dawn had recently retired from her nursing career in order to care of Parimala full-time, so finances were top-of-mind. “It was a concern that the hospital was four hours away. We were worried about what impact traveling long-distance would have on Parimala and our single-income household,” Dawn shares. When a staff member at Nemours suggested the Ronald McDonald House, the Cosgroves found it to be a perfect resource to meet their needs.
Since 2017, the Cosgroves have stayed at the House more than ten times. For parents Tom and Dawn, having the Ronald McDonald House brings relief from travel stress and costs. But for Parimala, it brings much more: joy, connection, and friendship.
Parimala’s favorite spot in the House is the toy kitchen and cooking equipment in the first-floor playroom, closely followed by the many toys in the basement “Romper Room.” Every time they check-in for a stay, Dawn says Parimala “squeals with joy.”
The Cosgrove family’s favorite memory at the House is the time they spent during the holiday season in 2018 and Parimala made many friends. “Parimala was able to play with other children and was racing through the halls. She decorated the House’s family Christmas tree, and met a child with a similar diagnosis,” says Dawn.
Having such a rare condition means both Parimala and her parents were excited to meet another child with a similar diagnosis and expressed how much it meant that they were able to do this. Dawn shares, “The House has helped us build community with other families whose children are receiving treatment at local hospitals…. Having a child with a complex medical condition has taught us the importance of having a supportive family and community.”
The Cosgroves are filled with hope for Parimala’s future, noting that she has already made such progress since coming home (to New York). “She was at a two-year-old developmental level and is now at a six-year-old level. She is finding her voice, which was non-existent when she arrived. She also now communicates with American Sign Language and assistive technology devices. We hope that she keeps gaining new skills, and most importantly, that she is happy and filled with peace.”
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