Finding Reasons to Celebrate

Alexis delivered her daughter, Faylen, six weeks early and was immediately thrown into the battle for Faylen’s life.

Born with a perforated bowel, liver disease, and a Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis, Faylen and her team of doctors fought for her survival every day, not knowing if she would make it through the next 24 hours.

Her mom, Alexis, said, “Battling to keep her alive while her liver was failing… it was a war zone.”

After being on the transplant wait list for one month, a miraculous match was found and Faylen received a life-saving liver, bowel, and pancreas transplant – just in the nick of time.

Her liver came out as hard as a rock and wouldn’t have lasted any longer than a few more days.  Alexis was exhausted and traumatized, but relieved that her daughter was on the road to recovery.

Then, doctors said Faylen needed to see specialists far from home for continued treatment. Alexis was scared and nervous. How could these new doctors understand everything they had been through?

Faylen was on 22 medications to prevent her body from rejecting her new organs and her immune system was dangerously low. Alexis had already rushed Faylen to the emergency room for life-threatening infections.

Would she survive a two-hour drive if she got sick again?

Thankfully, a social worker told Alexis about Ronald McDonald House.  She could stay close to the hospital while her daughter received treatment and she never had to worry about being too far away if there was an emergency.

Faylen did much better with this new treatment, but she was still too fragile to go home.  “My child wouldn’t make it if we weren’t so close to the hospital,” Alexis said.

After staying with us for more than 8 months, Alexis said the Ronald McDonald House was home.

When Faylen was first sick, Alexis had to sleep in the hospital for months, where healthcare workers came in and out of the room at all hours and machines were constantly beeping.  It was mentally and physically draining to get poor sleep day after day, for months.

She was grateful to have her own room and a comfortable bed to sleep in so she could have the energy she needed to focus on her daughter’s recovery.  And she loved coming home to meals cooked by volunteer groups, “Thank goodness I didn’t have to cook on top of everything else,” she says.

When your child is sick, you don’t get a chance to celebrate a lot of things, but the families and staff at our Ronald McDonald House make sure to celebrate milestones together. So, for Faylen’s second birthday, everyone at the Ronald McDonald House gathered to celebrate, giving Faylen a day to play, laugh, and be a kid.

Finding joy in the small things makes it easier to realize everything will be okay.  

Thanks to you, Alexis and Faylen will continue celebrating these and other milestone with the support of everyone at Ronald McDonald House. Thank you for everything you do to provide the comforts of home to families with seriously ill children.

Your support helps families stay close to each other and to the care they need.