Ashley and Moses were flying high – their daughter, Fayth, was born and she was beautiful and in perfect health. Two months later…their daughter was airlifted to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
She needed a new liver.
Fayth was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare liver disorder that occurs when a baby’s bile ducts become blocked. It is neither hereditary nor genetic and its cause is unknown. The result can be serious liver damage and can require a liver transplant.
“We couldn’t treat her in our hometown because it doesn’t have a doctor familiar with biliary atresia,” Ashley said. “Mayo Clinic is where we needed to be.”
And it was there that she received her new liver.
Ashley and Fayth traveled together, as Moses stayed home with the other children. Ashley said it was stressful and scary; she had never been away from home for an extended time and they did not know anyone in Rochester. But that changed quickly as well.
“We never felt alone,” said Ashley. “The House is so warm and welcoming.”
The House provided food and activity bags for Ashley and her family – even her children who were back home. Fayth’s favorite toy was a xylophone, which helped her learn to sit up.
Ashley stayed at the House while Fayth was inpatient for her liver transplant and they stayed at the House together following her transplant.
Ashley commented on the guest rooms and community spaces and how they were “spacious and beautiful.” And she appreciated how clean it was; especially during a pandemic and with a daughter who had surgery.
“Fayth and I feel safe at the House,” Ashley said. “After her transplant, I was afraid to take her to hotels, stores, restaurants; but the House is so clean.”
“It gave me so much confidence.”
Volunteers regularly disinfect and sanitize common spaces at the House. They also do anything and everything to make the children and family feel at home.
“The volunteers made our stay memorable,” Ashley said. “They treated us like friends – like family. They answered all of my questions and were so helpful.”
“I will remember their love and care forever.”
Another burden eased by the House was the Fresh Food Co-Op. The space opened in 2019 and provides children and families with fresh and healthy perishable food items, such as protein, produce, dairy, and more, at no cost to the families. The Fresh Food Co-Op is the first of its kind in a Ronald McDonald House.
“I was so worried she would get sick or I would bring the sickness back to the House,” said Ashley. “The House provided everything we needed and everything we wanted.”
“Comfort and convenience in a stressful situation are so helpful.”
The Ronald McDonald House of Rochester is supported by hundreds of individuals, groups, and businesses. Their support makes it possible for the House to provide for children and families throughout the year. In a year of uncertainty, supporters ensured the House would keep its doors open.
“Thank you,” Ashley said. “We were so scared. We didn’t know how we would pay for a hotel and meals. We didn’t know how long we would be in Rochester. We don’t know if we would have been able to make it work.”
“The House took that burden off of our shoulders.”
Fayth has a long road ahead. Her health and new liver mean lifetime appointments at Mayo, which will decrease in frequency as time goes on. But, for the time being, Ashley and Moses are celebrating their happy and healthy daughter.
Ashley said she will not forget the impact the House had on her family.
“The Ronald McDonald House made a rough time in our lives a wonderful experience.”