The House that Love Built

Melissa Markham never imagined that the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill would impact her life so much. But now, she says that “RMH is alive with hope, compassion, and love; it is hospitality defined, it is equipped, it is safe, it is close, it is comfortable, it is the only part of our journey we wish for our daughter to remember, it must have been inspired by God, as it is filled with his spirit.”

Her family, including husband Brad and daughter Hannah, lived a quiet life in Lumberton, NC before her daughter was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancerous tumor of the muscles attached to the bone. In Hannah’s case, the tumor was located in the nasal vestibule of her head. Their life was turned upside down as they traveled to Chapel Hill to be by their daughter’s side for the long road ahead of them.

The Markham family learned about the Ronald McDonald House in the hospital, and say that love brought them to the Chapel Hill House. “We never could have done this alone,” said Melissa.

The Markham’s have spent countless nights in the House during the course of Hannah’s treatment, which required twenty-seven days of radiation and forty-seven weeks of chemotherapy.

Enduring the treatments and the long road to recovery has not been easy for Hannah or any of the Markhams, but Melissa explains, “We turned this over to God, and he has blessed us so much.” She says that the experience has been humbling, as they have learned to accept the kindness of others and that is has also been enlightening and taught them so much about life.

The Markhams are truly grateful for the role the Ronald McDonald House has played in their lives, and they will never forget the connections they made their with the other families, volunteers, and staff, reminding them that sometimes even the most dire of circumstances can ultimately result in the most wonderful blessings.