At 18 weeks gestation, Everett Kerres was diagnosed with spina bifida and fetal surgery - surgery before he was even born - was critical. Because his parents, Johnna and Adam, wanted to make sure he got the best care, they chose Texas Children’s Hospital despite living many miles away in Illinois. 

“We didn’t know how we were going to financially be able to do it,” Johnna said, “but we knew that the Ronald McDonald House Houston was there.” 

Not only did she have to travel to Texas for the surgery, but she had to remain there until after Everett’s birth. “A stipulation [of the surgery] is that you need to be within 15 minutes of the hospital at all times,” Johnna explained. “Early labor is a risk of the surgery, so if you go into labor, they want you to be nearby so that you can get to the hospital and they can get you and the baby the care that you need.” Luckily, Johnna was able to spend two 45-day stays at the House and remain close to the hospital, as required, until after Everett’s birth.

“When you are going through something medically with your child, it’s draining—not just financially, but emotionally and physically. And to be able to go to a place where you can just worry about your sick child is such a huge relief. If there wasn’t a place like the Ronald McDonald House, I’m not sure how we would’ve been able to get the treatment that we needed.”

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