Last spring, just after Blake turned eight years old, his life changed completely. It was Easter Sunday when he suddenly became very sick. After some testing, doctors confirmed Blake had a form of aplastic anemia. In order to survive, he would need a bone marrow transplant. While the search for a donor can sometimes take months, Blake was lucky: his younger brother Jack was a match! At just five years old, brave Jack gave Blake the bone marrow he needed on December 10, 2018.
While Blake recovered from the surgery, his family received the call that a room was ready for them at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House. After 11 days of waiting, they had a room just steps away from Blake’s hospital room. Since he wasn’t strong enough to leave the hospital yet, Blake’s mom, Laura, took pictures of our House to show him. Blake couldn’t wait to leave the hospital for a little more freedom, right next door.
Blake received the best Christmas gift when, on Christmas Eve, doctors told him that his counts were high enough to leave the hospital and join his family in our House. Although he still needed to be isolated to protect himself from any germs, doctors knew that being with his family would help Blake heal. Blake was excited to enjoy the delicious meals, meet with our teachers, and most of all, visit with the therapy dogs.
When asked about their stay in our House, Laura shared her thoughts:
“The people that work here are so friendly and welcoming. The food is great; so are the chefs! Being so close to the hospital- just a few minutes walk over- so if we have an emergency, we are right there. I can come here and we can have time together and not worry about anything else. I don’t have to worry about meals. We’ve made cookies in the kitchen as a family. His brother and sister can do the activities- they loved the New Year’s Eve face painters! In caring for Blake, his siblings can sometimes feel left behind, so they feel special here.”
For Blake, being out of the hospital was the biggest blessing. Thanks to your support, we can keep Blake and thousands of children like him just steps away from the critical care they need.