Mona Santoya woke in the middle of the night to hear her little daughter Genevieve gasping for air. After rushing her to the ER, tests and x-rays revealed that Genevieve’s heart was failing. She needed specialty treatment 660 miles away in Palo Alto, California.
Genevieve was immediately transported to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and placed on an artificial heart to keep blood pumping through her system. Through it all, Mona kept vigil by her bedside, holding her hand, trying to keep her magnificent smile glowing through the pain.
For nearly a week, Genevieve and Mona were all alone without any support. Thankfully, a room opened up at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford right next to the hospital. This meant Mona’s husband and five other children could temporarily relocate and help Genevieve get better together.
Beyond simply a place to sleep, the Ronald McDonald House gave the family connections. At the House they connected with other families going through similar heartache, frustration, and fear. They found solace and relaxation in home-cooked meals that were prepared every night by caring volunteers. They are also afforded the time, free of any other distractions, to be at the hospital to give Genevieve as many hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” as she needs.
With the help of RMHC, Genevieve and her family’s hearts are mending together. On March 18, Genevieve received her new heart and after eight months in the hospital, she was able to join her family at the Ronald McDonald House.