Our Little Dancer
Eight hours after my daughter Kalissa was born, she stopped breathing. She was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Buffalo and at only one-day old Kalissa had brain surgery to remove a clot along with her right temporal lobe. My husband and I were in shock, we couldn’t wrap our minds around what was happening to our little baby. We were hours away from home with no place to stay. It was one of the longest and scariest nights of my life.
The next day the nursing staff made arrangements for us (my husband, Kalissa’s two grandmothers and me) to stay at the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House. At a time when I didn’t know up from down and was struggling just to understand the difficulties Kalissa was facing, I will never forget going up to the front door of the beautiful old mansion with bags in hand and ringing the doorbell. We were immediately greeted by staff with the words “We were expecting you.” “How is your baby?” “How are you? Let us take you to your room.” They took care of us. It was like a little bit of heaven and a small reprieve from the nightmare we were living.
The moment we arrived, we felt welcomed into a big, loving family. And like every favorite relative, they took care of everything for us from making sure our room was comfortable and that we were well fed, to arranging transportation to the hospital every day. There was always someone there offering us love and support.
They understood what we were going through and that meant the world to us. A week after her surgery, Kalissa was discharged. We were so happy we could finally take our little girl home.
However, this was just the beginning of the difficulties and struggles of our little Kalissa.
Over the next five months she had two more brain surgeries which brought us back to Buffalo from our home in Salamanca. It brought Kalissa back to Children’s Hospital and my husband, Kalissa’s two grandmothers and me back to the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House and our “Buffalo family” where we were always welcomed with open arms.
Today, Kalissa is a strong and healthy 5-year old. Her laugh and infectious smile have brought sunshine to everyone she meets.
Each year when we come back to Buffalo for Kalissa’s yearly appointment with her neurosurgeon, we always stop at the House with collected pull-tabs in hand to donate and give back to the wonderful place that is so special to us.
As I look back over the past five years, I will never forget the peace and comfort we experienced when my whole family was able to stay together at the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.
– Alichia Hoag