Monteleone Family mother and father holding their two kids

Megan Monteleone

I live in Beaverton, OR, with my 15-month-old son, 9-year-old daughter and husband. My son was born in November 2015 with something called Peter’s Anomaly, rendering him blind at birth and with pulmonary valve stenosis of the heart. After multiple visits with the eye clinic here, we were told that Carson’s eyes were too malformed to try surgery and that, although he could see light, the doctors were not sure how long that would last.

Fast-forward a few months and I met a lifelong friend online (through a support website) who led me to Dr. Aquavella at the Flaum Eye Institute. After sending him Carson’s records, they were confident they could potentially give our son sight. As a result, in mid-April 2016, we flew into Rochester for a 10-day stay and here we are almost a year later with a few Rochester visits under our belt, and my son has vision—great vision, actually!

When I first saw Ronald McDonald House, it was so welcoming and felt like home. The first day, I was met by other parents going through similar things with their children and it just put my nerves at ease before Carson’s surgeries.

My friend who led me to Rochester and RMHC in the first place was there during my first stay, so she introduced me to some pretty amazing women who helped me through our stay. Bonnie and Cher were my go-to gals in my time of need and could answer any questions I had about the house or the town itself. Not to mention, they loved my baby and made me feel like a part of the RMHC family.

There were all kinds of amenities that made our stay easier, from the shuttle to the hospital to the open kitchen 24/7. The amenity that honestly helped me the most was the open computer on each floor. I was able to sit down and type out what the doctors had said before and after Carson’s surgery to our friends and family without being disturbed or having to sit on my tiny phone and get my feelings out.

RMHC meant that we could afford to be comfortable across the country during a very stressful and difficult time in our lives. I didn’t have to worry about making breakfast, lunch or dinner. I could come back to a place where I could either go to my room and have peace or open up to a stranger about my struggles.

If I had to describe RMHC in one word, it would be support. Sometimes when you are going through such a difficult time, you don’t really know what you need to help you get through it. RMHC was there to support me and my family financially, physically by putting a roof over our heads, feeding us, providing transportation to and from the airport and hospital, and so much more.

Although my son can now see, we will still be visiting Rochester at least 2-3 times a year for quite a long time, and I look forward to staying at RMHC each and every time.