“It was an exhausting 12 days but without the Ronald McDonald House I wouldn’t have been able to do it”‘ said Van Nortwick.
When her son was born he had collapsed lungs and needed immediate surgery.
“They said,you know, he’s not coming home today,” Van Nortwick said. “He’s not gonna come home tomorrow and he may not come home next week.”
An hour away from home, the family had nowhere to turn to until they found the Ronald McDonald house.
“It’s not just a house, it’s the community, it’s a warm meal at the end of a long long day, it’s not a financial burden” Van Nortwick said.
The house gives families a place to stay while their seriously ill children receive care at Sparrow Hospital.
“We never determine how many days they’re allowed to stay. If their child is receiving medical treatment for overnight or 6 months they can stay as long as they need” said Ronald McDonald House’s executive director, Carolyn Hurst.
At any given time the house hosts about 8 families but to them the house means so much more than brick and mortar.
Hurst says the different families become one big family, “it really is just a support system for all the families that are here and they can all lean on each other for support.”
Just steps away from Sparrow the house runs like a hotel with the staff trying to make everything as calm as possible.
“We just make sure we know that when they’re popping in and out that they’re looking for the same things,” Hurst said. “Food, they need it to be quiet they can go take a nap.”
That attention to detail was what made the stay at the house easy for Jennifer Van Nortwick and her family.
“It just really helped to ease my mind” Van Nortwick said. “It really just takes a huge weight off of your shoulders”