When Lisa Sigley went into labor 16 weeks early at St. Joseph Warren Hospital, her main concern was the health of her son, Joseph. Born with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a common yet serious intestinal disease in premature babies, Joseph had perforations in his intestines.
Because of an increased risk of bacteria passing through to the bloodstream, NEC can turn severe rather quickly. After a month at St. Joseph’s Warren, Joseph was transferred to Akron Children’s Hospital for surgery.
Lisa and Joseph arrived at Akron Children’s on Christmas night. She spent two more nights sleeping in Joseph’s hospital room until a room became available at Ronald McDonald House Akron. At the time, she had no idea she’d still be there four months later.
She knew Joseph’s road to recovery would take some time, but her commute to Akron and home took close to an hour each way…precious time to be separated from her newborn.
“It’s amazing to be able to stay in the House instead of his room or driving back and forth,” said Lisa. “They accommodate you in any and every way. It’s really truly been amazing over here.” She spends her days at her son’s bedside, coming back to the House to eat and sleep.
A team of Children’s specialists performed a series of surgeries to remove part of Joseph’s intestines and, weeks later, to remove his colostomy bag.
Since that Christmas night, Joseph has improved tremendously. He just moved into his ‘big boy crib,’ and Lisa and the medical team are working on getting him used to a full bottle feed. “We still have a ways to go, but he is progressing really well,” said Lisa. “As soon as he is up to a full bottle feed and healed, we’ll be on our merry little way back home.”
The House provides meals, toiletries and other everyday essentials, as well as facilities to do laundry, prepare food and other money-saving activities.
“They are wonderful people in the House,” said Lisa. “I’m so grateful to have them. I would be sleeping in the hospital every night, 24-7. They’re my home away from home.”
For so many parents like Lisa, the House is the only housing option during a time of incredible challenge and stress. Donations fund 98% of the operating costs of the House, where the staff is supported by hundreds of volunteers, corporate and individual donors, and local restaurants.
In short, it takes a generous community to make this House run. Find out how you can help here.