On March 4, 2020, Amber checked in to the hospital and was ordered to remain at the facility on bed rest due to severe preeclampsia. Five days later she and her husband, Korey, welcomed their first child into the world by emergency C-section – eight weeks before his due date. Walker, weighing only 3 pounds 14 ounces, was quickly carted off to Freeman Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Being new parents, 30 minutes from home, and facing a global pandemic, Korey and Amber were so very thankful for the blessing of Ronald McDonald House.
Amber shared, “Ronald McDonald House quickly became the solution to challenges we didn’t even know we would soon face! No one can prepare you for the world of being a preemie parent… or so we thought! Postpartum anxiety, separation, insomnia, missing home and the very unnatural process of letting go and allowing others to care for your baby were all challenges we faced. Ronald McDonald House reminded us that we were not alone on a sometimes very uncertain journey.”
“We were always greeted with a smile and someone eagerly asking how our son was doing,” said Amber. “Each day, the staff and volunteers made it their mission to meet a need of ours. Whether they offered us a warm meal, a listening ear, or community resources, they were there when we needed them most. When we discovered the fees for our 20-night stay at Ronald McDonald House was covered by an anonymous donor, we immediately felt additional weight taken off of our shoulders.” Today, Walker is a happy and healthy two and a half year old who keeps his parents on their toes. The Marretts are just one of many families who called Ronald McDonald House their “home away from home” while their seriously ill child was treated in the hospital.