On the morning of her third birthday, my daughter Amelia was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia. She needed to be airlifted to Kansas City for immediate treatment. I was in shock and devastated that I couldn’t go on the flight with her because I was eight and a half months pregnant. Her father and grandmother were both at work and there was no time to waste, so Amelia went on her own.

Thanks to Ronald McDonald House Charities, that was the only time Amelia didn’t have me or her grandparents by her side during her 27-month ordeal. For the first three days in Kansas City, I stayed in Amelia’s hospital room while my mother and Amelia’s older brother, Ayden, stayed at a nearby hotel. Then the hospital social worker told me about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

I was so lucky to be offered a room at the House where my parents, Ayden, and later on, my brand new baby girl could all stay with me. In the final days of my pregnancy, my mother went with Amelia to some of her procedures and I missed one of her early weeks of chemo when I was in labor. The next time we came back to the House, two-day-old Jalayah was with us.

RMHC kept us close so we could be there for each other and for Amelia. That amazing gift is the reason my husband was able to keep his job. But the staff and volunteers at the House go so far beyond providing the gift of a comfortable place to eat and sleep. I still can’t believe how thoughtful they were. Sometimes we would come to the hospital unexpectedly when Amelia was sick. Knowing we didn’t have time to pack, Kelly at the House would have a Thirty-One bag/care package waiting for us – filled with toiletries, activities, and goody bags for the kids.

My kids love the House and Amelia has made great friends there over the past two and a half years. After all of the love and support they gave us, these special friends are now family. We were all so thrilled to celebrate together when Amelia finished her 27 months of chemotherapy in July. We honestly couldn’t have made it through this incredibly difficult time without our RMHC family. We will be forever grateful.

With love,

Alicia Brown