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The Ronald McDonald Family Room comforted Charlotte’s family after her traumatic accident when she was three years old


In 2009, three-year-old Charlotte Hedgecorth was in her family’s home when she experienced a traumatic fall out of a secondary-story window that left her unconscious with a fractured skull. Utterly shocked and living a parent’s worst nightmare, Charlotte’s mom Becky rushed to her daughter’s side to get her immediate care.

“I’ll never forget what it felt like running down those stairs, picturing the landscaping bricks we had just installed below the window and terrified that my baby girl might be dead. It was the scariest time of my life,” says Becky.

The ambulance arrived quickly to transport little Charlotte to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Charles to evaluate her injuries. After thoughtfully examining Charlotte, doctors transported her to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

After running tests, doctors informed Becky and Charlotte’s dad Carlos that their daughter had no brain damage but would need a temporary, dissolvable plate inserted in her skull and would fully recover after.

“I think I breathed for the first time in hours when the surgeon explained my baby was going to be okay,” says Becky. “They also informed us that she was lucky the garden statue broke her fall because she may have taken the blunt force impact in her neck or spine.”

Charlotte’s family spent several days in the hospital before and after her Craniotomy surgery – leaving them exhausted and uncomfortable.

“We spent days in waiting rooms trying to entertain our five and eight-year-old sons comfortably,” says Becky. “When we weren’t by Charlotte’s side, Carlos and I spent our nights in the waiting room, unable to rest amidst other families coming and going and hospital machines incessantly beeping.”

After two restless nights camping in the small waiting room, a nurse informed Becky and Carlos about the Ronald McDonald Family Room on the fifth floor.

 “We were amazed when we went in! A kind volunteer welcomed us and told us about all the comforts they had to offer. I was weeping with exhaustion and gratitude,” says Becky.

Becky was familiar with Ronald McDonald House Charities by seeing the donation boxes inside local McDonald’s Restaurants. Still, she was unaware of the kind of hospitality families received while utilizing the space.

“The Family Rooms provided snacks, games, toys for the boys to play with, and gifts to take to their sissy. They offered comfortable seats, a large sofa if we needed to nap, toothbrushes, and other toiletries. It was such a welcome respite from the cold waiting rooms,” says Becky.

She explains further how lucky they were to have family members and the community unite to support Charlotte’s recovery.

“We needed each other, and everyone visited to help in any way. It felt like the whole world was rooting for Charlotte to get better,” says Becky.

Charlotte is now 17 years old and has fully recovered, with only a small scar under her hair as a reminder of the accident. She and her family continue to support Ronald McDonald House Charities to show their gratitude for all the support they received during their family’s challenging experience.

“My office started a new initiative with a mission to give away monthly donations to employee-nominated charities through the end of the year. It was an honor to nominate RMHC and present them with a $1,000 donation,” says Becky.

Becky expresses how much Ronald McDonald House Charities enormously impacted her family. She says thinking back brings her to tears recalling how she got through that difficult time with the help and support of the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

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