NewsRadio Savannah introduces you to the Barett family and their Ronald McDonald House Of The Coastal Empire experience:
Nick's journey began in November 2018. He started showing symptoms of what was thought to be gastrointestinal issues. His tests always came back normal, but he continued to lose weight. On May 14, 2019, a brain scan revealed a tumor. Our world was rocked, but at least now we had a diagnosis. Dr. Thompson admitted Nick that day to the Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children's Hospital at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, GA. Six days later, Nick survived a ten-hour brain surgery to remove the tumor. He never once complained.
Two weeks later the biopsy of the tumor rocked our world once again. It was an Anaplastic Edenymoma grade 3. Cancer. My child has cancer. There are no words to describe the feeling of hearing that word. There is no preparing for such a diagnosis, it's just a matter of “where do we go from here?”. Nick's treatment plan was for 33 radiation treatments. He would need to be at the hospital once a day, Monday through Friday. The hospital was over an hour away from our home.
I decided to stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire, and they welcomed us with open arms. From the first day, they were so helpful and made sure we had everything we needed. Nick is a picky eater and they always had gift cards to Nick's favorite restaurants. We were provided with VIP passes to the fireworks display on July 4th and they even made arrangements for us to enjoy a ghost tour in downtown Savannah. Nick spent his whole summer vacation fighting for his life and the Ronald McDonald House did everything in their power to make it as fun as possible and to keep his mind off things.
During Nick’s treatment, I was pregnant and began having complications. When I was admitted to the hospital overnight, the House staff went out of their way to arrange for my mom and five-year-old son to stay with us and help out until I was better. The Ronald McDonald House was our home away from home for seven weeks. And the hospitality we felt there was second to nothing. We also enjoyed Willow, the therapy dog. She is very much loved by us all. She was a great distraction from all the chaos. Everything we went through, the tears, the ups and downs, the emotional roller-coaster, seemed not so stressful while we were here. We are more than thankful for the staff, the volunteers, and everyone that makes the Ronald McDonald House possible. It was more than just a roof over our heads, it was truly a home and forever friends.