From the House that Love Built...

Finding Comfort - The Swecker Family

Jen Swecker and her son were cast unexpectedly into months of surgeries and rehabilitation when 10 year old Adrian received severe 3 rd degree burns over 40 percent of his body after a gas can exploded in his hands. He was initially treated in the pediatric ICU in Kalamazoo, receiving five grafting surgeries over a six week period.   After the surgeries, the family was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids for eight weeks of rehabilitation....
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 8:18 AM | 0 comments

The Beard Family

Lorna from Okemos stayed at the House one week to be close to her teenage daughter who was in treatment at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Hospital. When her teenage daughter told her she “wanted to hurt herself”, Lorna knew she needed to seek help immediately.  She took Summer to the local ER, who suggested she check into a mental health facility.  Unfortunately, there is no hospital with mental health treatment or mental health facility closer than an hour away...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 2:59 PM | 0 comments

Giving Back through Baking

I've been baking since I was 10 years old, rushing home from school to see what the Galloping Gourmet was cooking up! My 3 kids loved to help me make cookies when they were little, often sitting in front of the oven window to watch them bake. When our oldest and at that time our only child (just 2 years old then) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia there was no pediatric oncologist or Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids (this was 1983). We were...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 10:44 AM | 1 comments

Meet Kendra

As a teenager, Kendra Smith required a double lung transplant. She was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) as an infant. The complex, progressive disease caused her to undergo years of treatment, including oral medications —often more than a dozen at a time—and daily breathing treatments. Her condition made it difficult for her to gain and to retain weight. Even as a teenager, she struggled to reach a weight of 100 lbs. When Kendra was 15, her lungs had deteriorated to a...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 11:57 AM | 0 comments

Meet the Pak Family

Before June 2011, Krista Pak considered herself an average wife and mother with a typical daily routine. Then, the lives of her whole family changed. Her five-year-old son, Wes, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare and serious childhood cancer.   Now 11 years old, Wes has undergone dozens of cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, more than 15 rounds of antibody treatments, numerous major surgeries, and multiple clinical trials. For several years, Krista and Wes flew from...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:02 PM | 0 comments

It's Worse, Than Worse

Imagine hearing these words from the medical staff while your child is in surgery.  As Jennifer Sutton stood on her deck July 15 th , she never dreamed she would be living 185 miles from home for over 54 nights while one of her children received life-saving, critical care in Grand Rapids. Her sons, Logan and John, were out riding an ATV and Ranger side by side.  Jennifer heard sirens in the distance. Then the unthinkable happened – the phone rang – the sirens were for...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:12 PM | 0 comments

Why We Volunteer

How and why did you first get involved at the House?  When I retired, I knew I was going to volunteer- it was just a matter of where. In my search, I came across the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan (RMHWM) and thought that would be a good fit for me. I mentioned it to my husband, Tony, and he also expressed interest. Fortunately, we could do this venture together.   What drives you to be so supportive of the House and the Mission?   We are driven to...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:11 PM | 0 comments

Keeping Families Close

  Emery Townsend was born 6 weeks premature in Muskegon, Michigan.  Immediately after her birth, due to breathing issues from Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), an ambulance from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital was called to transport her to Grand Rapids.  The team sent worked for 6 hours to stabilize Emery so  she could make the trip. She would be attached to a breathing machine for the next 6 days.   First time parents, David and Rachelle, set out for...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:11 PM | 0 comments

A Culture of Volunteerism

Amway Corporation, located in Ada, Michigan, has been a long standing partner of the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan (RMHWM) – more than 20 years to be exact! Their focus on supporting our local community with time, talents and treasures ensures a successful corporate volunteer program. Each year more than half of the 4,000 employees volunteer.   At RMHWM, Amway has been an integral group in our meals program. The meals program is the largest program at the House...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:07 PM | 0 comments

Love, the Wagners

Our son Lake was born with a rare lung condition PPH(Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension) on December 15th 2015. We stayed a total of three weeks at the RMH. Unfortunately my family had to go back home to Lewiston(four hours away) due to school and work, leaving me alone but not for one second did I feel honestly alone with all the loving and patient Ronald McDonald employees. Every morning I got up at 8am to get ready for the 9am shuttle to the hospital. Then arrived back home around 6pm...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:07 PM | 0 comments

Meet the Masers

When Kelsey Maser’s son, Lucas, stopped gaining weight at 10 months old, their daily routine quickly changed. Lucas was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive, a condition in which a child doesn’t retain the calories necessary to grow as expected.   Kelsey and Lucas had to seek guidance. They joined an eight-week Intensive Feeding Program (IFP), designed to help infants and toddlers learn to eat and drink in productive ways. There are only a handful of these programs across...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:06 PM | 0 comments

Quinton's Journey

Five-year old Quinton Fortin from Albion, MI woke up one morning with unusual complaints—a debilitating headache and severe neck pain. Doctors couldn’t initially determine the cause for Quinton’s symptoms. Flu and strep test results were all negative. It was determined that he had a bad cold, and that rest would help him recover.   Approximately 24 hours after returning home, Quinton’s symptoms got much worse. He started having trouble moving his limbs. He...
Posted by mpriester@rmhwesternmichigan.org at 12:06 PM | 0 comments