Family Testimonials & Profiles
Julie & Mark Phelps’ Story
Our daughter Anastasia was born with hydrocephalus and was diagnosed with a debilitating and fatal disease, Dandy-Walker Syndrome. I was discharged from the hospital as a massive snowstorm hit so my husband and I could not get home. We were separated from friends and family at Christmas and we did not know what our daughter’s fate would be. The Ronald McDonald House became our home for the holidays. We will never forget the profound kindness that was extended to us. I awoke on Christmas morning to see my baby’s first Christmas gifts ever sitting under the house’s tree. My daughter had been diagnosed with a fatal illness and I wondered if these gifts would be her last. Our lives are forever changed by the love extended to us from strangers. Imagine our relief when we learned the fatal disease was a misdiagnosis and the hydrocephalus healed on its own. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House for adding to our Christmas miracle and profoundly impacting the rest of our lives.
Mark and Julia Phelps
Wayne & Michella Seawright’s Story
Our 18-year-old son Brandon was in a swimming accident while camping. He was rushed to the hospital, and then sent by helicopter to Springfield where he stayed for 10 days. The Ronald McDonald House provided everything for us. I honestly do not know what we would have done if we weren’t able to stay there. It was so comforting to be able to talk to other families who were hurting like us. I am so thankful to the Ronald McDonald House for providing a family atmosphere during a tragic time in our lives. Bless you, all your staff and volunteers for all their hard work and love they give to others.
Wayne and Michella Seawright
The Newberry Family Story
When Jenna Newberry first came to the Ronald McDonald House,® it was as a volunteer. Throughout her high school years, her family would serve meals at the Ronald McDonald House with their church. She never could have imagined that one day she would be on the other side of the serving dish—that she would be the one receiving generosity during a time of intense fear and need. Yet on a cold December night, when Jenna had only been pregnant for 27 weeks, Lucy Marie (who weighed 2 lbs 5 oz) and Lilly Anne (who weighed 1 lbs 15 oz) came into the world.
Jenna, a teacher in Humansville, and her husband Andrew, a pastor, knew their daughters’ stay in the NICU was going to be a lengthy one. And with family out of state, their options were limited. But Jenna knew the Ronald McDonald House was nearby, which provided much needed relief. Staying in the House allowed her and her husband to see their girls anytime they wanted, and to be nearby for anything that might arise. The NICU nurses and Ronald McDonald House volunteers became the family and support they relied on during a time of need.
“We will forever support, and be blessed by, the Ronald McDonald House for being our ‘home away from home’ when our lives were turned upside down,” Jenna said. She and Andrew remained guests of the Ronald McDonald House for 66 days, saving them the 50-minute commute from their home in Bolivar.
Lucy Marie and Lilly Anne, now six months old and over 11 lbs each, remained in the NICU for ten weeks. Their mom and dad work as a team, investing both in quality family time and ensuring that the girls each get one-on-one time with their parents. The twins are happy and healthy, sleep through the night and greet each morning with laughter.
Jenna and Andrew are already thinking toward the next mom and dad who call the Ronald McDonald House home. They want to prepare family dinners for those staying at the Ronald McDonald House on nights when the girls’ grandparents can babysit.