Many families are facing new challenges this year including time apart from friends and loved ones and virtual school. One of those families is Kathyrn and Layth Talouzi, who are currently calling the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, “home.”
In April, sixteen-year-old Layth was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a condition in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells, and Neutropenia, an abnormally low count of a type of white blood cell. The family learned that his best treatment plan would be a bone marrow transplant, and luckily Layth’s older brother Omar turned out to be an incredibly rare perfect match.
“While Layth was in the hospital for his transplant the social worker assigned to his case came to the room to let us know that since we live so far away, we would have to stay near the hospital for 70 days after Layth is discharged,” Kathryn said.
Luckily, the House began accepting new families right in time for Layth and Kathryn to check in.
“I have never stayed at a Ronald McDonald House before, so I did not know what to expect. When I walked through the doors that first day I was amazed at how open and inviting the House was,” Kathryn said. The staff was very warm and caring they went over the changes in the way the House would run due to COVID and answered any questions I had.”
After checking in, Kathryn was given a tour of the House and the apartment she and Layth would call home. “The apartment was very nice and had all the essential supplies that we would need the day we checked in. The staff let us know that if there was anything we need to let them know and they would be happy to get it for us including doing grocery shopping.”
The Talouzi family spends their time taking walks in the botanical gardens, playing basketball and watching TV. Not to mention six hours of online school work to keep Layth busy on weekdays!
“The hardest part of staying here during COVID is not having our family visit us,” Kathryn said. “My fiancé and his kids really miss us and we miss them terribly. Though we do understand the reason for not allowing visitors, it is still very hard not seeing family and friends.”
Even though they miss their family and friends, the Talouzi family is thankful for the House’s support. They expect to stay at the House until the end of October when it is safe for Layth to return home to Youngsville, NC.
“The Ronald McDonald House has been a saving grace for us. I do not know what we would have done without their help and support. The House was there for us at the worst time of our lives and the support they offer has helped us get through these very tough days. I have found that the Ronald McDonald House is not just a place to stay while your child is sick and going through treatment, it is a safe haven where an ill child can relax and heal while still having fun and have a sense of normalcy.”