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Emerson’s grandma reflects on the family’s experience at the Ronald McDonald House

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From the very beginning, Mary Snider has always been a part of her grandson Emerson Vincelette’s life. When her daughter Elizabeth passed, she was granted guardianship of her grandson.

“He lives with me, and I am able to see my daughters smile and eyes in him every day,” Mary Snider said. “My husband and I cherish every moment.”

Fifteen-year-old Emerson was born on August 27, 2008, at 23 weeks premature at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Seconds after birth Emerson was transported to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

His mother Elizabeth who was unsure where she would stay drove to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital to be with her newborn baby.

After arriving at the hospital Elizabeth was informed about the Ronald McDonald House where she could stay close to her son.

“We were all so grateful for the Ronald McDonald House,” Mary Snider said. “To know that you live two hours away is stressful. Being able to be a block and a half away in case something happened gives you a sense of ease, even if you weren’t right in the room with him.”

Mary reflects on how she and her daughter enjoyed staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

“The Ronald McDonald House is the perfect place to stay, we had a warm meal every evening, access to laundry, and that feeling of living with people who truly cared,” Mary said.

In addition to staying at the Ronald McDonald House their family also participated in many events to help raise awareness and contributions for the organization. Each year, Mary returns to the Ronald McDonald House with Emerson for the Annual Tab Top Pandemonium event.

“He thinks it’s the greatest thing and always wants to come back,” Mary said.

Now in his first year of high school. Emerson is a straight-A student who enjoys playing the guitar, drums, and video games.

“If you met him you would know he is the kindest, politest, and sweetest kid you probably would ever meet,” Mary said. “I’ve watched Emerson tackle every obstacle that comes his way, I am so proud of him.”

Thinking back to when Emerson was just a little baby, Mary is so grateful for the comfort and support her family received.

“The House is home for so many families during difficult times. Until you go through it, you don’t realize the importance of the house being there,” Mary said. “It enriches lives and keeps families together. There are no words to describe just how grateful we are for it.”

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