The Cruz family has been a huge part of the Ronald McDonald House Family for two years now. Alejandra Cruz was born on April 4,2018 at 26 weeks.Mom, Yaliris, Dad, Enrique, and grandparents, Mildred and Jose, travel to Chapel Hill for Alejandra’s medical treatments. They are from Spring Lake, a small town near Fayetteville, North Carolina.It was not long after Alejandra’s birth that her family came to RMH and became loved by all.
“Alejandra was born with Corpus Callosumin her brain. She was also born with a severe cleft palate and cleft lip. She could not drink from a bottle and was transferred to Chapel Hill for treatment. Upon arrival, Alejandra required a tracheostomy.The first day she was transferred to UNC Children’s Hospital, the social worker in the NICU asked us about Alejandra and our family. She and some nurses helped complete the necessary paperwork and sent us to the Ronald McDonald House.”
Yaliris and her family have found much comfort in being a part of the RMH family. “The House has supported our family in many ways,” s he said. “My daughter was in the hospital for 177 days. Being able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and not having to pay anything was a huge blessing. They provided food and everything. Still to this day, I am grateful for that. They didn’t care how their day was going. Every time we came in from the hospital, they would ask, ‘how are you? how is the baby?’ They genuinely wanted to know how we were doing, and they cared.They would sit down and talk to us to get our minds off things. It was really good. I really care for the people at the House.”
One of the biggest amenities that Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill provides is the opportunity to meet others going through similar circumstances. “The year that Alejandra was sent to UNC was the year of premature babies,” said Yaliris.“It wasn’t just me. There were six other moms that were my age. We were going through it together. Every baby was different, but we would all see each other going to and from the hospital. We made a good connection and still stay in touch. We are also really close with many of the staff members at the House. They will sit down and talk with us. They have seen our babies grow. We became a family. The bond we have with them, that is something you can’t break.”
“Alejandra has a long journey to go. The surgeries and the physical therapy she will still have to undergo will be challenging. We are still trying to determine if her trach can be removed. It is a complicated situation, especially during COVID-19.”
“Without the Ronald McDonald House, this experience would have been very hard. Alejandra was in the hospital for 177 days, and we live an hour and forty-five minutes away. We would have gone days without seeing her or days in the hospital without sleeping or resting. If something happened to her, the hospital would call me, and I would rush to UNC. That would not be possible if I was at home far from her.”
“I would like for people who have never stayed at the House to know how amazing the staff are. It feels so homey. Staying there is a blessing and a privilege that not everyone has. My family and I will forever be blessed by the Ronald McDonald House.”