RMHC Helped Us Cope Before, During, and After Bradley’s Transplant
On February 17, 2015, my four-year-old son Bradley received a life-saving stem cell transplant from his twin sister Charlotte (Charlie). So far, it seems that Charlie’s donated stem cells have taken over in the line where Bradley’s cancer was. We are very optimistic that this treatment will prevent future relapse of Bradley’s leukemia (though I’m holding my breath as I write this). And we are grateful that RMHC helped us all cope.
Leading up to Bradley’s transplant and for a month after, my husband, Brian, and I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s with Charlie and our youngest son, Camden. We felt like we were being compassionately cared for during a time when we weren’t sure we could take care of ourselves. I know that was a huge factor in our ability to cope and keep it together during the scariest times. Being at the House really helped us get the rest and mental breaks we needed so we could take care of our kids and be there for them when they really needed us.
About a month after his transplant, Bradley was released to the Ronald McDonald House. We were thrilled to be back together after several very difficult months apart. Bradley still had lots of appointments, but his health stayed good while we were at the House. We started to feel like ourselves again; we were able to transition back to being a family. Staying just minutes away from the hospital also gave us a great sense of security at a time when it felt like we needed training wheels as we learned how to take care of Bradley post-transplant. We were so grateful to be at the House where we could take the time we needed to get comfortable with our new reality.
The Ronald McDonald House offered us so many great opportunities to keep busy and have a little fun. Things like painting eggs, decorating cookies, and other fun activities made a big difference to the kids. Bradley even met players from the McDonald’s All American ® High School Basketball Games last year, when they visited the House. He was so excited to watch the games and we have maintained friendships with two of the players. Staying at the House gave us time to laugh together, smile, and forget about cancer just for a little while. Those moments kept us going.
Today, Bradley and Charlie are five and their little brother Camden is 18 months old. Bradley loves Kindergarten and all of his new friends. He is doing well and doesn’t feel any different than his classmates. We feel blessed that his health has been so good over the past year. His follow-up tests continue to go well and we are optimistic for the future.
We will always be grateful for our experience with RMHC.