Spencer’s Story

Spencer’s Story

“Our first visit to the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut was actually to deliver a pantry donation. It wasn’t until we were chatting with a volunteer at the front desk that we realized we were eligible to utilize their facility.

My son, Spencer, has mastocytosis. He produces too many mast cells, a type of white blood cell. Over the years, we’ve been to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital often for appointments, procedures, treatment, and physical therapy. We try to schedule appointments back-to-back when possible, or first thing in the morning. Early morning appointments sometimes allow for Spencer to still attend school that day. We arrive at the House the night before, go straight to his appointment, then make the drive south and head off to school. Most of our stays are for a single night, or for daytime respite.

Even if we don’t need an overnight stay, we’re thankful to have a place to sit and eat lunch and a playroom to use outside of the hospital setting. We’re especially thankful that during the winter months, we can arrive at the House the night before when snow is in the forecast. During the summer months, we can arrive early for an appointment to avoid traffic, as Spencer is anaphylactic to heat due to his condition.

The Ronald McDonald House of CT offers us a breath of fresh air in knowing that we have a safe, cool place to spend a few hours of our day to stretch our legs and enjoy a snack.

More than anything, the House has offered our family a sense of community. While we may go a period of weeks or months between our visits to Yale, trips there consume a part of our son’s life. Yale has given him back his childhood. And in turn, so has the Ronald McDonald House, by normalizing our hospital visits.

There’s something very special about running around on the playground or playing bingo in the dining room, surrounded with other kids who ‘get it,’ who understand you in a way that most children can’t. It’s hard to be different. To leave class every day to take medicine, to be covered in hives (manifestation of his disease) for seemingly no reason, or to dress in your summer uniform at school when everyone else has transitioned to their winter uniform. At the Ronald McDonald House, everyone is on the same playing field. Everyone is understood, and no one is different.”

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