Over the past three decades, the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill has had many esteemed visitors, but none more special than Princess Mia Ivey. Mia, age four, and her family have found a “home-away-from-home” at RMH as she battles Stage Four High Risk Neuroblastoma.
“The House gave us a place to stay during the weeks after Mia’s two stem cell transplants when it was critical for her to be near the hospital in case of emergency,” Ivy, Mia’s mom said. “After her second transplant we did have to make two late night trips to the ER and being so close gave us great peace of mind.”
The Iveys were first introduced to the House when a few of their friends from the hospital were going through their own transplants. While friends told her about the House, Ivy’s first impression was beyond her expectations. “I never expected it to be quite so big and the courtyard blew me away with how pretty it is!”
The House was also a big support to Mia’s older brother Jaxon, age six. “While Mia was in the hospital there were long periods of time that he wasn’t able to see or play with his little sister,” Ivy said. “The House made sure he wasn’t left out and made him feel just as special as Mia.”
Ivy said the family made connections with other families while staying at the House, and Mia even made a best friend who was also undergoing cancer treatments. “It’s more than just a house, honestly it’s a community,” Ivy said. “Everyone might not be going through the same thing, but the support is amazing from people who were previously complete strangers.”
During their long days at the hospital, the Iveys found comfort in the Ronald McDonald Family Room. “It is a great way to be able to step away for a minute without going too far,” Ivy said. “There are books to keep you entertained, phone chargers, meals on certain days, always snacks and volunteers who are always willing to lend an ear.”
Without the Ronald McDonald House, the Iveys may have spent 2-3 weeks cooped up in the Hospital. “Mia couldn’t even go in the hallway unless it was for a procedure,” Ivy said. “At the House, Mia could run and be free. She was able to go outside and get fresh air, she was able to play with other kids with her mask on.”
Without the House, the Iveys would have been traveling from Fuquay-Varina daily. “It would have drained us financially, and also physically and emotionally,” Ivy said. “All of the staff and volunteers treated us like family. They were kind and friendly and helped us with anything we needed during our time there.”