While hiking one day, Peter tripped on a tree trunk, got up, brushed himself off and kept going.
A week later, after their family had returned to their house in Panama, he started complaining about a pain in his left leg – perhaps something that came from his fall. His family took him to the hospital to investigate – they did an MRI on his hip, which revealed that the pain was coming from a tumor the size of a golf ball. Peter was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – he had a malignant tumor that was growing quickly and he and his family had no time to waste.
Immediately Peter’s parents began researching the best treatment options for their son. The best option was thousands of miles away at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. They needed to act quickly, so within one week, they were in New York, and with the help of the Ronald McDonald House, they could stay there for as long as needed, enabling Peter to get the best care possible.
“Sloan-Kettering hospital is treating my son’s cancer, but the Ronald McDonald House is treating his heart and soul,” said Peter’s dad. ‘Kindness’ is the Hallmark of the Ronald McDonald House, and we feel it, as a family, every day.”
For more than a year, the Ronald McDonald House has been more than a place to stay for the Marottas, it has been a place to gain strength. They have found moral support, friends, familiar surroundings and a safe place to share their struggle – a place that reduces the worry and stress of what they are going through. Staff and volunteers are there to take care of the little things – cooking meals, helping with laundry, cleaning up – so they can be by Peter’s side, all day, helping him fight cancer.
“It is truly magical here. It is a place where your heart, your mind, and your family find rest.” said Mr. Marotta. “We wouldn’t be able to keep going without it.”