The Thorne Family

The Thorne Family

For over 125 days, Ariel and Marc Thorne called Ronald McDonald House home after the early birth of their son, Levi. Before they left, Ariel shared her personal thoughts on what mattered most and how you helped us ease their stressful journey.

Tell us a little bit about what brought you to Ronald McDonald House.

It was at a routine fetal-echocardiogram appointment at 22 weeks when I received the news that would change my whole life. “Baby’s heart looks fine. However, it looks like your cervix is shortening. This is now a high risk pregnancy.”

That initial discovery lead to multiple conversations with many other professionals and the reality set in. I could be having a premature baby soon. About a week later, at 23 weeks and 4 days, I gave birth to my 1 pound, 3 ounce baby boy, Levi.

What was running through your mind at that time?

As one could imagine, there were a variety of emotions that surfaced. The most present one being fear- fear of losing my child, or my mind, or both! There was so much that I suddenly didn’t know. But what I DID know was that as long as Levi would fight, I would be right there beside him.

How did Ronald McDonald House help you?

Ronald McDonald House made being present for our son’s medical journey possible. It offered us a sanctuary where two parents of a micro preemie could be nursed to better health; physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally through kindness and caring. The house team and its awesome volunteers have ensured that our basic needs were met. When so much energy is going to my son’s care, it was good to have a place that considered our care.

The Thorn Family

How would you describe Ronald McDonald House to someone who has never heard of it?

The Ronald McDonald House is a respite. We met other NICU parents, families dealing with rare diseases, those with children in chemo for cancer and more. In the open dining area, we connected, chatted, cried, laughed and loved ourselves into a better state.

One of Marc’s favorite parts was Wednesday night bingo and I love the playground that allowed my nieces to visit for “auntie time” as this process took me away from them. Ronald McDonald House brought some sense of normalcy back to us.

Without Ronald McDonald House, I’m certain that the stress of this process would have impeded my ability to give Levi all I had to give. Without Ronald McDonald House, I would not have the community that I believe is responsible for keeping me sane. Without Ronald McDonald House, I would not have met the life-long friends I have.

What do you hope happens next?

By a miracle, our son has progressed tremendously. My hope is for us to start our new life in our own home while telling everyone we know about the four plus months when Ronald McDonald House was our home and all the good this organization does. My hope is that we too are able to give of our time and resources to pay it forward. I hope to be a part of the Ronald McDonald House family forever.

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