When a mystery diagnosis brought Charles and his family far from their Robeson County home, they had no idea what the next few months had in store for them.
Their journey began on December 13, 2019 when Charles’ 16-year-old daughter began experiencing unexplained seizures and was admitted to the PICU at UNC Children’s.
For months, Charles and his wife lived out of the hospital waiting room, not wanting to be any further than absolutely necessary from their daughter and her doctors as they fought for answers. Charles would spend a night, here and there at the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill to rest and recharge.
“Miss Michelle came over to the hospital a couple times trying to get us to come to the House,” Charles said. “We were hesitant due to the fact that I knew I wanted to be at the hospital as much as possible. When I first came over here, I was pleased with the way it was set up and managed.”
Their plan would shift course, however, when due to COVID-19 precautions, both parents were no longer allowed to accompany their daughter at the Hospital. In March, Charles checked into the House for the long haul.
“The House has allowed us somewhere where we could stay and be close to our daughter and close to the hospital,” Charles said. “With the pandemic, only one parent is allowed at the hospital. Because of the House, I can be at the Hospital easily instead of driving 2.5 hours to get there.”
While the House has looked different than “normal” over the last few months, we have continued to provide necessities and nightly meals thanks to our generous community supporters.
“The House lets me know that there is still good in the world,” Charles said. “There are still good people no matter how bad the world looks. Y’all provide all the stuff that we need, which sometimes doesn’t mean that much, but when you are in a situation like this, it means a lot.”
From his time at the House, Charles is thankful for the fellowship with the families and staff. “All of y’all have genuine concern toward me and my family and my daughter,” he said.
“I can’t say thank you enough to the staff, to the volunteers, who still bring the flowers, who donate drinks, snacks, meals. They have to understand what it really means.”
In June, Charles’ daughter will continue her journey at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte for rehab treatment. While Charles prays that no family ever has to experience what his family has gone through, he hopes they know that the House is there for them, in all circumstances.
“If someone has a child in this situation and they are looking for somewhere to stay and have a peace of mind, the House provides that. The House and the volunteers provide great meals and it is an excellent opportunity to help families out, even financially. They don’t have to worry about having to spend on a motel room and then buy food on top of it. The house is a place where you come and find a sanctuary.”