The Hardwick Family 

from Otis, Oregon: Five Visits, 14 Nights

“We spent 40 days and 40 nights – which sounds like a joke, but believe me, it wasn’t – at Randall Children’s Hospital. They try very hard to make it a comfortable and welcoming place, and they do a good job, but it’s still a hospital,” Nicholas’ mom, Elizabeth, recalls. “We stayed at the Ronald McDonald House so our family could be together, and just being away from the constant bleeping of monitors to be able to sleep! It was a lifesaver.”

Nicholas has since returned to Randall as well as OHSU after developing a seizure disorder and later requiring ear tubes. 5:30 am hospital check-ins would have required Elizabeth to drive in from the Oregon Coast at 3:00 am, but instead, she and her husband, Damon, were able to stay right next door. “We really value the opportunities to meet other families when we’re at the House. We met a family from the Bend area who has a little girl close to Nick’s age who also has Down’s, and we must have spent an hour in the kitchen sharing experiences! It’s been a huge comfort to have the normalcy of a community to come home to.”

“I feel like the Ronald McDonald House is truly a second home to our family,” Elizabeth says, between tears, “We’re so grateful for an organization that provides an atmosphere that makes that true.”