Content, silly, and very loving – just a few words Melia uses to describe her 19-month-old daughter Addelyn. Those characteristics serve her well, considering the medical obstacles she faces. At 19 weeks pregnant, parents Melia and Reagan from Thatcher, Arizona, discovered their daughter had fluid on her brain. Tests later revealed that she had a rare diagnosis of chromosomal deletions on parts of her DNA. After birth, these deletions have presented Addelyn with many medical challenges, including seizures and epilepsy. She has also undergone shunt, heart, and eye surgery.
But during every step of the unknown path the family travels, Ronald McDonald House has guaranteed a precious treasure – togetherness. “It’s been nice to just have that resting place to come and wrap your head around everything that she’s been diagnosed with or the scariness of all the unknowns,” Melia said. “These appointments are emotionally and physically exhausting. Ronald McDonald House helps hold our family together.”
For Addelyn’s dad Reagan, little activities that volunteers and House staff organize have provided a needed escape. Reflecting on a day when the family sat down to make Valentine’s Day cards, Reagan said, “It didn’t have anything medically involved and I felt like this was home. It was a time when I could actually relax and focus on doing a little something together.”
Addelyn’s 4-year-old sister, Chloe, the “energizer bunny and then some” of the family has also found joy in the House. Her favorite thing – “playing outside” with new friends she makes.
To Addelyn’s family, Ronald McDonald House is more than a place to sleep and eat. “This is OUR family,” Reagan said. “These experiences bring out the best in us as families. We’re not in this alone.” Melia added, “It’s been a treasure.” Through stress and uncertainty, the House is dedicated to providing families with a soft place to land when they need it most.