NewsRadio Savannah introduces you to the Walls-Jones family and their Ronald McDonald House Of The Coastal Empire experience:
My name is Cherish and my fiancé, Alvin, and I have three children: my 6-year-old son, born prematurely at 33 weeks due to an incompetent cervix; Alvin’s daughter, who was carried to full-term and is now 4-years-old; and our little girl, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks weighing only 1 pound 8 ounces. Alvin and I knew our daughter would most likely come early, but not as early as she did. My pregnancy was difficult, but with the help of our wonderful doctors and nurses, I made it along. However, 24 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy, my water broke. The next day, I was rushed into surgery to undergo an emergency c-section – my daughter’s umbilical cord had collapsed.
During the surgery, I was under anesthesia and unaware of what was happening. Alvin was not allowed into the room during surgery and I woke up not knowing anything. Alvin was finally allowed to follow our baby girl to her Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) pod in the Dwaine and Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital at Memorial Hospital – to our relief, she was doing fine. Our hospital stay was going to be a long one – at least 3-4 months. Our NICU nurses told us about the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Coastal Empire, located right across the street from Memorial Hospital. They encouraged us to send our information to RMHC, since we didn’t have the means to stay in Savannah while our daughter remained hospitalized.
Thankfully, we were offered a room in the House the day I was discharged from Memorial. We loved staying in the House. The staff and volunteers were amazing – volunteers prepared meals for the families almost every day, helped keep the house tidy, and the staff always made sure we took care of ourselves. During our 3 months staying in the House, we also met other families going through similar situations. Their support was so important and really helped us get through such a challenging period of our lives.
When our daughter was born, she only had a 20-35% chance of survival. It was a struggle and every single minute mattered. Today, she is 8 months old! Settled in at home, our time in the Ronald McDonald House and her hospital stay seem like a distant dream. We are so thankful for everyone we got to know during those difficult months. Now, our home life is amazing – we have a full family!