Leonidas (Leo) was born in July 2021. A few weeks later, his parents, Gabriella and Samuel, were given devastating news: Leo had biliary atresia, a disease that would damage his liver. They left their home in Danville, KY for expert care in Cincinnati. He was listed for a liver transplant at just five months old and miraculously, a match was found. While baby Leo was recovering from his liver transplant, his mom, dad and big brother, Ilias, stayed just steps away in our House. Gabriella explains:
“Leo had a slew of complications after his liver transplant, so we were in the hospital for six long months. Every holiday this year was spent inpatient. During that time, we stayed at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House and it became our ‘home away from home’ as we didn’t quite know when we’d get to return to our own.”
After 167 nights, Leo and his family checked out of our House! They have been back for several short stays since, however, due to the ongoing care he needs. During their most recent stay, Leo celebrated his first birthday in our House. While every day together is special, being far from home can be hard on your birthday, especially a first birthday that comes after a whole year of fighting for your life. Being in our House felt like home for Leo and his family, so they celebrated with cake, balloons and gifts right from the comfort of our sunroom.
These moments are possible thanks to your generosity. You make a difference for kids like Leo who have missed celebrating every holiday at home – including their birthday- due to a critical illness.