Tucker is only 4, and sometimes he gets worn down by his chemotherapy treatments for cancer. He throws up, is sluggish and just wants to lie down. But it’s different when his brother and sisters are around. “He has the willpower to get up and play,” said his mother, Susan Bish. “It makes him want to get up and do something.”
Because of generous donors, the Ronald McDonald House provided the Bish Family a place to stay so all four kids could be together this summer despite Tucker’s illness. There’s Kaylie, 8, Caden, 7, and Aubriana, 21 months. They loved the Fisher-Price Play Space playroom, but it was even more fun to get outside to play. They got loud, ran around and had a lot of fun.
Without the Ronald McDonald House, Tucker wouldn’t have had those moments of joy with his siblings in the summer sunshine.
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About a year ago, Tucker was getting mysterious nose bleeds. Doctors eventually found a huge tumor the size of a golf ball. When he turned his head, it would block his airway and he would pass out. Susan and her husband Matthew were told that Tucker had cancer.
Tucker would need extensive treatment that included surgery and chemotherapy.
The treatment would take place in Buffalo, but the Bish Family lives in the Southern Tier, about two hours away. The gas alone for a round trip to Buffalo was about $40, and treatments occurred five days a week for weeks at a time. Susan estimates that in the past 10 months, they’ve stayed at the Ronald McDonald
House for 13 weeks. That would have been expensive for anyone, but money has been tight for the Bishes since Tucker got sick. Normally Matthew is a stay-at-home dad while Susan works, but she had to quit her job as a customer service manager at a discount store so both she and Matthew could be with Tucker while he was hospitalized.
“Sometimes Tucker wanted Daddy and sometimes he wanted Mommy,” she said. “They poked and prodded him and put a tube down his throat. It was scary for him, but we were by his side every second. He would have been crushed if we were not there. That right there would have killed his willpower.”
The other kids stayed with family while the older ones were in school, but on holidays they could all be together at the Ronald McDonald House.
Tucker is home now after his last chemotherapy and is feeling a little better. His hair, which fell out twice, is starting to grow in again, and his parents hope he will regain the weight he lost. Tucker is coming back to Buffalo soon to find out how effective the treatments were, and the family knows they can stay at the Ronald McDonald House.
If they weren’t there, we’d be lost” Susan said, “We’d have nowhere to turn.”
The Ronald McDonald House helped her family in so many ways during this long ordeal, she said. Their bedroom was large and near the bathroom in case Tucker got sick to his stomach. Volunteers cooked dinner for them. They could take a shower and do laundry. There were places where she could go to
be alone and just think. And they could be together as a family.
Susan wants to thank the donors that made this possible for her family and so many other families like hers.