Rafaelo and his mother Maria, first made the long journey to the United States from their home country of Cyprus back in 1999. Rafaelo was only 2 years old at the time. An accident at their family restaurant resulted in him losing part of his right arm and requiring care at Shriner’s Hospitals for Children-Springfield. During a later trip to Shriner’s for additional care, Rafaelo and his mother were connected with the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and found their “home away from home.” Over the years, they came back and forth for follow up care, each time staying a few months at the House. Rafaelo and Maria have met many families and made many friends. In fact, Rafaelo’s favorite thing about RMH is meeting and making new friends.
Now 21 years old, Rafaelo has completed his studies in Cyprus and is playing professional soccer. He has enjoyed the chance to travel so far from home each time he’s stayed at RMH, but also misses his family. His mother Maria can’t wipe the smile off her face as she expresses her thanks for always having a place to stay when they come for care at Shriner’s, and for the staff who provide compassionate service. After a recent stay of two months, Rafaelo and Maria are ready to say goodbye and return to Cyprus.
“I met good friends and people over the years here. I will miss them all.” -Rafaelo
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