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Everett’s mom, Amanda, found comfort and care when she needed it most

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In early January, Amanda Wallace went into labor almost nine weeks early. She was admitted to Alton Memorial Hospital before being immediately transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for observation. Four days later, on January 12, Amanda welcomed baby Everett into the world. Because of his early arrival, Everett was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Not wanting to leave her newborn’s side, Amanda was now more than an hour away from her other four children and their home in Medora, Illinois.

Thankfully, the Ronald McDonald Family Room was just a few steps down the hall, offering the comforts of home, including showers, laundry facilities, a kitchen with complimentary snacks and coffee, TV, internet and more. Sometimes above all, the Family Room provides a peaceful place away from the medical environment, where parents can rest and recharge.

“It’s a quiet space where you can go to take a minute to yourself,” says Amanda.

After a few days of sleeping at the hospital, she received a call that a room was available right down the street at the Ronald McDonald House on West Pine Boulevard.

“If it weren’t for a place like this, I’d have to go back and forth [to Medora] every single day,” says Amanda. “It’s truly a blessing.”

Like many NICU parents, Amanda knows how difficult it is to juggle being there for a little one in the hospital while caring for children at home.

“It breaks your heart to see your kids cry, especially when you have to turn around and leave again,” says Amanda. “If it wasn’t for the Ronald McDonald House, I couldn’t be as close to Everett as I need to be.”

The West Pine Ronald McDonald House and fifth floor Ronald McDonald Family Room have offered Amanda more than just a place to sleep or grab a quick meal. This mom has found a community of other parents going through similar situations.

“We all lean on each other,” Amanda explains, recounting how many familiar faces she sees at the hospital. “We’re each other’s support system.”

As little Everett continues to grow stronger with his mother by his side, Amanda and her family will be able to stay as long as they need.

“To everyone who works behind the scenes and to keep this organization going – I thank you with everything I have,” says Amanda. “It’s the best thing that I’ve ever had on my side.”

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