Published: May 11, 2020
Chandler Rogers’ medical journey started eight years ago, when he was diagnosed with an intimidating condition in both name and symptoms: Nephrotic Syndrome due to Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Chandler’s kidneys were becoming damaged and scarred, eventually leading him to go into kidney failure.
At sixteen years old, it was evident that Chandler needed a kidney transplant and treatment for FSGS. His mother Becky began research and was excited to learn that there was a nephrologist pioneering a new treatment where 100% of patients achieve remission.
Although there was hope on the horizon, the family hit a roadblock: this doctor was located in Delaware, far from their’ home in Louisiana; and the treatment would need to begin immediately after transplant.
“To get him the treatment he needs, we will do whatever we have to,” says Becky. For Chandler and his family, that meant that, yes, they would travel to Delaware no matter what the physical, emotional, or financial cost. Becky shares that this would have been to “either travel back and forth from Louisiana each week or get an apartment or hotel… and we probably would have gone into debt.”
After 12 weeks of pre-transplant treatment, Chandler received his new kidney, courtesy of his dad, Leigh, who was his donor.
And when the Rogers family checked in at the Ronald McDonald House, they found more than just an apartment or hotel. They found friends, support, caring, meals, and a place to be together.
“Establishing friendships with other families staying at the House has helped us be less homesick,” the family shares, mentioning that they have connected with and learned from families from all over the world during their stay. They even tried scrapple for the first time!
While Leigh was recovering from kidney surgery, the Rogers’ larger support system, which included Chandler’s older sister and his grandparents, were also able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. They helped care for Chandler and Leigh, and provided support, comfort, and home-cooked meals.
Home-cooked meals were also important for Chandler pre-surgery because he was on a restrictive diet and Becky shares gratitude that she could prepare their own meals in the family kitchens rather than “being at the mercy of a restaurant.”
When Chandler was discharged and recovering, he enjoyed being able to “just be a kid” at the Ronald McDonald House. “I like movie nights in the movie theater and going to the teen room to play air hockey,” he shares, mentioning that he also likes escaping to the sunroom to enjoy the quiet and do homework.
The Rogers family also shares that the “little things” have made a huge impact on them. Chandler recalls how meaningful it was when the staff surprised him by placing a “Happy Birthday Chandler” sign up in the dining room on his 17th birthday; and Becky shares how touching it was when a community organization created and donated Easter Baskets for all of the kids staying at the House over the holiday weekend.
On April 13th, the family participated in last year’s Ronald McDonald House 5K Run/Walk. Chandler was able to walk the full 3+ mile course and his family was overjoyed. “I don’t think he would have been able to do that before his transplant, even though he was a very active kid before his diagnosis,” says Becky.
Chandler is very much looking forward to getting back to being “a very active kid” by playing sports as soon as he can. And for the Rogers family, that may be sooner than expected! Chandler was cleared for discharge on May 7, 2019, weeks before they were scheduled, and the Rogers family went home to Louisiana.
Find out how you can help RMHDE by giving your time. Student, Teen and Adult Volunteers needed.Find Out More
The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates; McDonald's, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo, RMHC, Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile.