The Brown Family

19-year-old Kaila Brown and her family are from Stedman, NC, a small town outside of Fayetteville, NC. She is known by her peers to be incredibly happy, upbeat and for having a glowing personality.

In early October, Kaila began having trouble breathing and was eventually diagnosed with COVID Pneumonia. As we all have seen, the virus itself can be incredibly unpredictable for anyone and with the added complication of pneumonia it becomes more serious. Kaila’s lungs were badly damaged, and she was only given a 5% chance of survival. After an 8-day stay at Cape Fear Valley Hospital, Kaila was airlifted from Fayetteville, NC to UNC Children’s Hospital and immediately placed on an ECMO machine to give her lungs much-needed support.

After arriving in Chapel Hill, Kaila’s mother, Traci, had many thoughts racing through her mind. Her main concern was making sure Kaila was going to pull through and get to go home again. Then it hit her, “Where am I going to stay? How am I going to afford staying in a hotel and buying meals each day for weeks at a time?” Fortunately, a friend told her about Ronald McDonald House and their support of families in situations like hers. “Knowing my stay was covered and having that financial security allowed me to focus on my daughter more. They even provided meals to us every day and a shuttle ride to the hospital at any time each day.”

Throughout her hospital stay, Kaila had to have a new arterial line placed 11 times. In total, Kaila was in-patient for 43 days at UNC Children’s. It was anticipated that she would have to be on ECMO for three to eight weeks but fortunately, she only had to spend five days supported by the machine. In all, Kaila’s mother, Traci, called the Ronald McDonald House home for 35 nights while her days were spent bedside with Kaila at the hospital. “RMHCH provided me with support I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. The entire experience saved me from an incredible amount of stress and financial worry.”

Kaila has since been discharged from the hospital and is doing great. She is back at school with her friends, happy as she ever was. “We are just so happy. After thinking your child may not make it, even a bad day is a good day because Kaila is alive and well.”

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