When MaryAnn became pregnant, she was both happy and shocked. However, her doctor declared her a high-risk pregnancy and referred her and her wife, Sheila, to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“I was scared the whole pregnancy,” said MaryAnn. “But I received so much support and I fell even more in love with our daughter as time went on.”
Faith was born with Trisomy 21 – Down syndrome – with a heart defect. T21 occurs in 1 out of every 691 births and causes a child’s body and brain to develop differently.
“It was very scary and so emotional,” MaryAnn said. “But we were where we needed to be…in Rochester and at Mayo Clinic.”
Faith received the best care and was stable and in good health.
Shortly after her birth, MaryAnn and Sheila learned about the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester from a Mayo Clinic social worker. Before that conversation, they didn’t know anything about the House.
“It quickly became our second home,” said MaryAnn. “The staff and volunteers accepted us and showed us love and support; they treated us like family.”
“Their open arms and open hearts made a difference.”
MaryAnn shared how the House impacted her family in a positive way: meals, art, games, words and smiles – it all meant a lot. Even when the family has been unable to physically stay at the House, they received food and activity bags and gas cards.
And she will never forget the people who made it possible.
“Everyone who has donated to the house…thank you,” MaryAnn said. “You are amazing people and you made our lives so much better.”
Faith will be a regular visitor to the Ronald McDonald House, Mayo Clinic, and Rochester. Her heart defect requires echocardiograms – a test using high frequency sound waves – often and multiple studies: feeding and nutrition, sleep, hearing, weight, etc.
She will also need a Glenn procedure – an open-heart surgery – in the near future.
And the family of three will always have a place to say: their second home.
“The smiles at the House are pure love.”