Published: Aug 13, 2020
“Kevin and I met in 2009, got married in 2011, and we tried for a family for 7 years. Finally, in January of 2019, we were blessed to announce that we were expecting.
Then, amidst the joy of the good news, we were suddenly hit with a series of heartbreaks. A week later, we lost one of our family members, our dog Kaiser. Another week after that, Kevin felt sick, was taken to the ER, needed emergency surgery, and was diagnosed with cancer.
Kevin began chemotherapy, and set his mindset to getting better in time for his daughter to arrive in September. But yet again, we faced the unexpected. Olivia arrived three months early in June- we think, perhaps, to give her dad the boost and drive to persevere through his treatments. Weighing only 1 lb. 6 oz, she had to fight for her life from the day she was born. But we all fought together.
Our home in Bridgeville, DE, is an hour and a half from the hospital where Olivia was born and healing in Newark. While she was there, the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware became home. I stayed at the House the whole time Olivia was in the NICU, recovering from my own surgery, and then went back to work after 4 weeks, in order to save my time for when Olivia would come home.
Shortly after we arrived at the Ronald McDonald House, my sister in law and I had a cup of coffee and sat in the “garden” room. It was a beautiful summer day with plenty of sunshine and birds chirping. I remember this moment because it gave me a sense of peace and truly made me feel as though everything was going to be okay. Having a husband with cancer, and a daughter who did not spend her full time growing in her mommy’s belly was a heavy load to take on my shoulders. But it was the simple things that made all the difference. And this simple moment meant the world to me. It gave me hope.
Our routine changed quite a bit when I returned to work, and I was then even more grateful for the House. I would work during the day, drive over an hour to the hospital, and then fifteen minutes up the road to Wilmington to the House. Having this temporary home made our life so much easier, so we could put all our focus on Olivia and getting her well enough to come home.
And 4 months, later, she did just that! In October, Olivia came home, and her Dad was given the green light to have surgery in an attempt to remove his cancer.
Besides, some minor developmental delays, Olivia, the “spicy girl” as her nurses called her, is now almost 7 months old and thriving. We are happy to finally all be together as a family and are already making new, happy memories.
We don’t know what we would have done without the House. Staying at a hotel, even at a discounted price, would have depleted our finances. And not knowing what our medical bills are going to be after Olivia’s stay, my surgery, and not to mention, all of Kevin’s cancer treatments, the House relieved some of our financial burden. We are beyond grateful for this organization and we feel very blessed to have such loving and caring people near us.” -Olivia’s mommy, Mary Jo Kerr
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