Grobler family baby with special needs

Susan Grobler

My daughter was born February 19, 2016, with opaque corneas. After receiving the devastating news at home in Africa that no operation would be able to give her sight, we started to look abroad to find out if there were any possibilities for her to be able to see.

We were referred by doctors in Baltimore to the Flaumm Eye Institute at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Mariana’s first eye operation was scheduled for September 20 and the second eye for the October 11. In total, we stayed 55 days in the Ronald McDonald House. After surgery at Golisano Children’s Hospital, Marianna can now see!

When we arrived at RMHC, we did not know what to expect. It was our first time so far away from home and away from our son. We had no friends or family—we were scared but felt right at home.

So many people helped us through our journey. Just to mention a few:

  • Cher during the day—always friendly, rocking Mariana to sleep, always willing to help.
  • Bonnie during the night—Mariana’s “grandma” spoiled her rotten, as did Theunis, always making a new pot of coffee.
  • Debbie—searching and Googling for us places to see and visit while staying in Rochester.
  • Jeanette and Gwen—volunteer family on Thursday, lending a fishing rod for Theunis to try to catch fish in the canal.
  • Bill—driving us around and dropping us off.
  • The families who stayed at the house—we made so many friends.
  • All the other volunteers, as well as personnel of the RMHC, were always helpful and polite.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester is our new family far away from home. We miss everyone a lot—saying goodbye was not easy. You will always be in our hearts and thoughts.