College sweethearts Dan and Lynne Budig tried for seven years to start a family before hearing from an adoption agency that a family had chosen them. They soon found out that they would be taking home twins boys, William and Michael. When the boys were a few months old, Lynne found out she was pregnant! Within 10 months, the Budig Family welcomed baby Andrew, rounding out their crew with three young boys.
When the twins were three years old, they were diagnosed with Autism. They later learned Mike has epilepsy and Will was diagnosed with temporal lobe seizures. “Needless to say, our lives changed drastically, and we are so thankful to our family, friends and teachers who helped us,” Dan said.
“We are proud to say that all three boys graduated High school,” Dan said. William and Andrew also got their driver’s license, but Mike will never be able to drive due to his developmental delays. Both William and Andrew went on to college. William earned his welding certificate from Ivy Tech and was one class short of graduating with his Associates degree when he was diagnosed with Desmoplastic Small Cell Round Tumor (DSRCT) cancer, which eventually brought the family to the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
William was diagnosed with Desmoplastic Small Cell Round Tumors on March 15, 2019. Dan began researching the disease and one name kept coming up as the leader in research for this diagnosis. The doctor was Dr. Andrea Hayes-Jordan.
Dan said, “She agreed to do the surgery for us if we came to North Carolina where she was Chief for the Division of Pediatric Surgery at UNC. We met with her and realized this surgery was extremely complex and there would be a long recovery period. “Our social worker suggested RMH, which was perfect for our family, because we needed to keep Mike with us and would be staying in North Carolina for at least one month.
Dan said the family could not imagine what this experience would have been like without the Ronald McDonald House. Far from their Indiana home, the Budigs found respite and support at the House.
“Our initial impression of the house was one of awe,” Dan said. “Absolutely beautiful, and everyone there was so kind and helpful. We couldn’t believe the amount of volunteers that provided fantastic meals and support. It was such an amazing experience to see and meet other families who were also staying there.”
While staying at the House, the family noticed the Adopt A Room signage, and recognition of other individuals and groups who have so generously supported the House over the years. “We thought, if we could ever find ourselves in a position to do so, we want to be able to give back,” Dan said.
Dan’s mom, Jeanne, a former teacher, saw what the House was able to do for families, and decided she wanted to give back. “Supporting an organization and ensuring that this vital resource is available to other families in need far into the future is so important to our family,” Dan said.
Jeanne’s donation has taken the form of a friendly Husky, Max, who now lives on the legacy tree wall at the House! Max will be a comfort to many families, just like the Budigs.
“Without the support of RMH in Chapel Hill, our Journey would have been so much more stressful,” Dan said. “The financial burden it would have put on us would have been terrible. None of us would have been able to enjoy home cooked meals. We would have had to order take out three time a day for over a month. We would have had to locate a Laundromat to clean our clothes. We would have felt alone instead of being comforted by the families of RMH who knew what we were going through. We will always share with others who find themselves in a position to support, to think about supporting the House. It is such a great cause and benefits so many!”