Hines boy smiling

Sarah Hines

We first came to Ronald McDonald House in August of 2014. My son Brody and I arrived to Rochester via helicopter because a CT scan near us showed a mass in the back of his head. This was the beginning of our story—finding out that Brody has a type of brain tumor called medulloblastoma, and it would require surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

We live nearly three hours away, so traveling in every day was not an option. RMHC was dumped in our laps as a place to stay in Rochester. There were many things getting dumped on us at the time, and it was nice to have one that was a good thing! Having a place to stay for our entire family (four of us in total) is extremely helpful.

My first impression was one of feeling overwhelmed by everything going on, and then to have this amazing “house” available for us was indescribable. One less thing to worry about. The house, which is really like a house and a hotel all together, is perfect for families that really just want to be there for their kid’s stuff, not worrying about a place to stay or how to pay for it, or at least one meal a day.

RMHC is truly a home away from home for us. We walk in, are comfortable, recognized, and it feels like our second home at this point. There is a vast kitchen at our disposal, many family rooms (with TVs, movies, games and books), laundry, computers and of course the private rooms/bathrooms. Brody and I are partial to the big family room downstairs for watching movies!

Recent updates to the house included the floors getting switched to hardwood, and Brody said “it looks even more like home now.” We have hardwood floors at home. We have enough going on with the medical part of things when we are here that it is really nice not to have to worry about this part!

Today, we’ve been in and out of RMHC for two years. In that time, everyone has been helpful at one time or another. Bonnie, Cher and Deb are wonderful people, along with the myriad volunteers who make it go!

I’d like to say that our time of needing RMHC has come to an end, as my son finished up his treatment in May 2015. Unfortunately, we are currently going through a similar path again. Brody recently had surgery on a regrowth and just started radiation again. He will have more chemotherapy to come, as well. So instead of it being nice to have a place to stay so the follow-ups are not extremely long day trips, we are back to using the house on a much more regular basis. I do look forward to the days when it can be a place for an overnight for follow-ups again, but until then, the house will be instrumental in getting through more treatment. I am still extremely grateful that it is here and available for us in our time of need.

We recently went on Brody’s Make A Wish Trip. The picture below shows a little quiet support for our second home. RMHC makes it to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.