Brice Munoz, 12, and his sister Nadia, nearly 9, share more than the same parents and the same home in tiny Diboll, Texas. They also have the same rare genetic disorder, glycogen storage disease Type IV, which required both children to have liver transplants as toddlers. Continued treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital requires the family to travel to Houston regularly. Luckily, because they can stay at the Ronald McDonald House on Holcombe Street, receiving the care they need is not a problem.
The House has been a safe, nice and affordable place to stay and be surrounded by kind, caring people for the Munoz family. Procedures, poking and prodding often await Brice and Nadia at the hospital, yet they are always excited about their stays at Holcombe House.
“Nadia and Brice are siblings, and they are also friends,” said Leslie Bourne, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Houston. She has watched the pair grow up during their frequent stays.
Because of their unique friendship, Brice and Nadia were among four pairs of children who were sent by McDonald’s to participate in the Opening Ceremony at the Games in Rio. McDonald’s Olympics Kids Program celebrates the spirit of friendship – a key message of the Olympic movement. Nearly 100 children aged 8 to 12 years old from around the world were sent to Rio to participate in this program.
McDonald’s has sent children to the Olympic Games before, but this was the first year the children participated in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. As the founding mission partner of RMHC, McDonald’s felt it was important this year to celebrate the friendships the have flourished among kids and families because they have stayed together at one of the 359 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.
Without question, the RMHC Houston staff felt Brice and Nadia deserved this amazing Olympic experience.
Despite all they are going through, it is rare to see either child without a smile on their face, Bourne said. “These kids never complain. They are two of the happiest, sweetest kids; a daily reminder of how lucky we all are. It is a model of how we should all be.”
When one is sick and can’t go to school, the other immediately checks in when they get home. “They’ll ask, ‘Are you OK? How did your day go?’” said Brice and Nadia’s mom, Nora. When Nadia faces new tests and procedures, she consults with her brother because chances are he has been through the same thing already.
Equally, when Brice faces new challenges, Nadia will stay by his side so she can alert her mother if he needs anything. And, in what is a touching, visible sign of their affection, Nadia insists on holding Brice’s hand when he has painful tests. Brice tries to do the same for his sister, but she won’t allow it! “Her brother’s gentle gesture makes her cry,” Nora says.
Brice and Nadia had a great time in Rio!
And, even more importantly, because of your generosity, they will always have a place to stay when they need medical care far from home.
Help keep families close to the care they need. Look for the RMHC Donation Boxes at your local McDonald’s restaurant.
Thank you for your generosity and support.