Paid Posts - Colorado Parent

Ronald McDonald House Charities Helps Families Access Medical Care for Their Children

Often, until someone offers to help, we don’t realize just how much we need it. That was the case for Marie and Paulo and their children, Eva and Christian, who traveled from Toronto to Denver to get the medical treatment that Eva needed. For them, Ronald McDonald House-Denver provided all the comforts of home – and so much more.

Their story began nearly five years ago, when a young Eva began to display signs of an eating disorder. Devastated and afraid, the family immediately sought treatment in Toronto. Meanwhile, at home, Marie and Paulo were also dealing with the demands of implementing a behavioral therapy plan for their son, Christian, who is autistic.

As time progressed, Eva’s eating disorder did, too. The arrival of the pandemic made a difficult situation much more challenging, as treatment for both Eva and Christian became mostly virtual. It was then that Eva’s eating disorder reached a critical state and was now affecting her kidneys and heart. Knowing that she would now need to be checked into an acute care treatment center, Marie and Paulo found the care that she needed in Denver. But, traveling 1,500 miles for Eva’s treatment would make it significantly more challenging to continue to provide Christian with the care that he needed.

So, the family made a difficult decision—all four would come to Denver and be together while Eva was treated. They found Ronald McDonald House as a place to stay – at no cost – during this incredibly stressful time.

At RMHC-Denver, the family found themselves surrounded by others in a similar situation. Marie says she was grateful to meet other supportive moms – some with special needs children like Christian – who shared stories and offered support. “Nobody really understood me until I got to Ronald McDonald House,” she said.

For the family, the help has made all the difference. For Christian, the House is a welcome space offering a chance to bond with other special needs children. And for Marie and Paulo, it’s a chance to catch their breath while continuing to address the needs of both of their children.

“We didn’t get a break for so many years,” Marie said. “And now we’re able to go to bed by 9 p.m. every night.”

When the family reflects on their time in Denver and getting their daughter the care she needed, they talk too about being grateful for the house to support their son’s needs. They found friendship and hope by talking to families also endeavoring on a medical journey with a child.

For more than 40 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities has been keeping families of sick children together and near the medical care that they need. RMHC-Denver provides temporary housing for out-of-area families needing to be near their hospitalized children at no cost to them. Between their two Houses, one in Denver and one in Aurora, they are able to keep 118 families close to their hospitalized children each night. In addition, they operate a Ronald McDonald Family Room, within Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children which offers families a place to rest and regroup just steps away from their child’s hospital bed.

More than just a place to stay allowing many access to medical care that would not otherwise be possible, families helped by RMHC-Denver regularly recount their experience of finding community and renewing hope during a time when both can feel scarce.

To be a part of the magic of RMHC-Denver, supporters can visit the RMHC website.