Cerebral Palsy is a condition the Marshall family knows all too well. Both daughters, Mellisa, 17, and Kasie, 15, have the disorder. Kasie also struggles with scoliosis, and the combination of the two has brought the family to the Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville multiple times since May 2009. After staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville, the family, including mom, Donna, and dad, Michael, knew they would be in good hands.
Kasie could not walk without the assistance of special braces, a bacloen pump and a walker. In May of 2009 she became ill and all the devices that help her to walk had to be removed. Everything was then replaced in May 2010 but the family had to return in July due to complications. The family has stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville each time.
Donna, Kasie’s mom, said they felt very tense when they first came to the House, but it only took them a couple of days to settle in. The volunteers and staff have been a real blessing for the Marshall family.
“You make a need known and they really go out of their way to get it,” Donna said. “People will do anything to help.”
Donna’s greatest memory of being in the Ronald McDonald House of Gainesville was when she and Kasie had to find clothes and supplies for an urgent trip to Jacksonville. Donna had thought they would be staying in the House no more than one night and had only packed one set of clothes for Kasie. Theresa, the House Operations Manager, helped to put together a huge gift basket with nail polish, a curling iron, a Wal-Mart gift card for clothes and anything a girl could need.
“It was like a rock, no, a boulder was lifted off our shoulders,” Mellisa, Kasie’s sister, said. “They don’t put money first, they put family first.”
The Marshall family makes good use of the amenities in the House. Mellisa uses the free wireless internet to do her online classes and the family can often be found socializing on the back porch.
“The Ronald McDonald House has been awesome for us,” Mellisa said. “They have concern about your wellbeing not just the patients.”
The family is always grateful for everything the Ronald McDonald House has given them.
“For someone to keep coming back it must be a really great place,” Donna said. “To have that is a blessing and a relief.”