At their 12-week appointment, first-time parents Celeste and Joshua received very unsettling news. They learned that their unborn son had gastroschisis, an opening in the abdominal wall. This condition by itself is treatable, but they worried about the challenges he would face so early in life. When he was born on Sept. 2, 2019, he needed immediate care in their hometown hospital in North Carolina.

Doctors soon discovered that treatment plans that normally were very successful for babies with his condition weren’t going to work on Vincent. After several severe complications, his doctors advised Celeste and Joshua that there was little else they could do.

Unwilling to accept that their baby boy wasn’t going to make it, Celeste and Joshua searched for other alternatives. That’s when they found out that expert care was waiting for them in Cincinnati. They learned about it from a Facebook group they joined for support with parents going through the same diagnosis.

Vincent wasn’t even three weeks old when they took a life flight to Cincinnati. It was confirmed that Vincent had no bowel left and would need a four-organ transplant to save his life: the liver, pancreas, small intestines and colon. He is close to the top of the list, but he needs all four organs to be the right size and all in great shape for him to be able to accept it. So for now, they wait. Until then, they must remain in Cincinnati.

While Vincent gets stronger each day, his family stays in a room at our House. They will remain here until after Vincent has his transplant and recovers. Celeste shared the following about their stay in our House:

“It’s been very helpful to be so close by. The interaction with the staff has been helpful and it’s social here. You get to know people more. I’ve met a few other families through the laundry room, or we’re cooking at the same time or at an activity. You share things with families here.

This House really helps people get on their feet. The donations and the goodie bags and the easiness of the ‘grab and go’ snacks is really helpful. For me, being the only one here with Vincent right now while my husband is home working, it doesn’t feel like I’m like a single mom, I feel supported and can still be here for my child and have the ease to do what I need to do and keep him strong.

Between the activities, the snacks, having the meals prepared and just having someone to listen is a huge help. When today is the day I want to talk, someone is there for me. It’s really helpful to have a place to clear your head. You know, you’re at a hospital that’s stressful and you need to get away in that moment. The House is a place you can go that’s a little more relaxing and comforting.”

Thank you for giving families like Vincent’s a relaxing, comfortable place to call “home” during the most difficult time in their lives.