young girl in hospital bed smiling

"Thanks to My RMHC CTX family, I Refuse to Sink."

Although I’m only 17 years old, I have been on quite a journey. Six years ago, my journey led me and my family to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
When I was six years old, I was diagnosed with Chiari I Malformation where my brain fluid does not flow correctly to my brain. Initially, it wasn’t so bad because my diagnosis was a level two on a scale of ten. During 6th grade, my Chiari levels rose to 5 ½ and I had my first grand mal seizure. That’s what brought me and my mom to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin – 200 miles away from my home.
This was frightening for my family and me. We were so far away, in a different city, going back and forth to the hospital for tests. Thankfully, the social worker at the hospital referred us to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas. As soon as we walked in the door, Ronald McDonald House felt like our “home-away-from-home.”
In May 2014, my Chiari progressed to 6 ½ and I now had migraines. We were traveling often to Austin for doctor visits and treatment, but we never had to worry about where we were going to stay. Ronald McDonald House Charities was always there for me and my mom, welcoming us with open arms, just like family.
Today, my disease is progressing and my mom and I still go to Austin for tests and treatment. And although it’s not always the best circumstances that brings us back to Ronald McDonald House Charities, it’s amazing to know that we have a warm, comfortable home surrounded by friends that really care for me. I feel really blessed to call this wonderful place “home.”
I am forever grateful to you and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas for helping me, caring for my mom and being there for us when things get really scary. I still have a long road ahead of me but knowing we have your support makes me feel that much better.
Caylie Brown