Geoff and Stacy
Graves first encountered Ronald McDonald House Charities® Wichita when their
then 13-month-old daughter Lauren was diagnosed with type one diabetes. The Graves family arrived at Wesley Medical
Center thinking that Lauren had the flu and was told by the doctor that they
would have to stay at the hospital for at least 10-12 days. “We went literally with the clothes on our
backs into the hospital to staying there 10 days,” said Geoff Graves, Lauren’s
dad. At the time, Lauren was the youngest case of type 1 diabetes in the state.
A flurry of
treatment for Lauren and lessons for Geoff and Stacy in carbohydrate and calorie counting, giving
shots and testing blood sugar followed, but the family found refuge in the
Ronald McDonald House Family Room® at Wesley Medical Center. The Graves family was scared, and their world
had just been turned upside down. “We weren’t
really able to leave the hospital, so we were able to go to the Family Room, to get food,
meet with family and just get away from everything for a little bit until we
had to go back to Lauren's bedside,” said Geoff.
A few years later,
the Graves’ son Ethan had to be taken to the hospital for what his parents
thought was an upset stomach. At four months
old, Ethan was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is a brittle bone
disease. The family needed peace yet
again, so they found help and comfort in the Ronald McDonald Family Room®. “It was just a really nice getaway for us; it
offered peace and a step away from everything that was happening at whirlwind
speed,” said Stacy Graves.
Now fast forward
several years, the Graves are more than thankful their two kids are happy and
healthy. The family has worked to adapt
their lifestyles to accommodate Lauren and Ethan’s needs, but couldn’t be
happier with the treatment they received during their traumatic experiences.
“You look outside
the window of the hospital, and the world just keeps going. Sometimes you
feel so isolated, and it’s really nice to know there are people who care; and
there’s someplace to go like the Ronald McDonald House,” said Geoff Graves.