Shelly’s story began when she was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at just 18 months old. Her parents, Amber and Ricky, were devastated but they knew they had to be strong for their little girl. Shelly was a lively and fun-loving child who enjoyed playing with princesses and baby dolls. She loved to sing, dance, and pretend to cook. Her parents cherished every moment they spent with her, especially when she was feeling well.
Treatment for Shelly’s leukemia began in 2021, and it was an arduous journey. She faced many obstacles along the way, including losing all of her muscle mass, which made it difficult for her to walk or sit up on her own. Her parents were heartbroken to see their daughter in such a state. But then came some good news – Shelly was eligible for a clinical study for her specific diagnosis. However, this meant that her parents had to be at the hospital every 48 hours to change her IV bag of medication, which was not feasible as they lived an hour and a half away.
That’s when they discovered the Ronald McDonald House. The staff went above and beyond to make the family feel welcome and comfortable. They provided them with a sense of security, knowing they were close to the hospital if anything happened. The House organized Thanksgiving dinner for families and even brought in volunteers to make it feel like home. They took Shelly and her mother out for Chinese takeout and bowling, which was a much-needed break from hospital appointments. The staff even gave their family passes to different activities around the Grand Rapids area, allowing them to enjoy some quality time together.
The people who work at RMHCWM truly care about the families they serve. They showered Shelly with toys and other goodies to put a smile on her face while she was receiving treatment. The staff members were always there to lend a listening ear or offer a helping hand. Shelly’s parents were grateful for the support they received from the House during such a difficult time in their lives. They know that if they ever need it, the Ronald McDonald House is there for their family. Although their journey is far from over, they are looking forward to Shelly’s final cancer treatment in November 2023 and completing her treatment plan!