a Family Story

This family shares their experience with our Ronald McDonald House program.

the Rodriguez Family

Rodriguez Family

“We are truly grateful for your support and giving us a warm and friendly place to stay during a time of stress."

“We are truly grateful for your support and giving us a warm and friendly place to stay during a time of stress, and not knowing what the future was to hold for our family.”

When Shelly and Gilbert Rodriguez’s daughter Ella was born six weeks early they were met with much uncertainty. Shelly had already been on hospitalized bed rest for two months due to gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Ella’s vitals were unstable so she was immediately rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sanford health in Fargo. Shelly and Gilbert were left feeling unsure as to how they would stay close to baby Ella while they were 60 miles from their home in Valley City, ND.

Soon after they arrived in Fargo Shelly and Gilbert were told about the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley (RMHC-RRV) and their minds were immediately put to ease knowing they could be just minutes away from Ella. For 18 days, they shuffled back and forth from the hospital to RMHC-RRV to spend their days with their beautiful baby girl. At night, they were able to get a good night’s sleep which was important to them to be able to take care of her during the days. The meals that volunteers prepared and the food in the pantry from donors were also a lifesaver for them so they did not need to spend time away from Ella or worry about what they would make for their next meal. Everything they needed was right at RMHC-RRV.

Ella was so small that none of the hospital clothing fit her and she was so early that her parents didn’t have anything prepared. Thankfully, Shelly and Gilbert had time to visit the Petite Boutique to get all the essentials Ella would need, including baby hats, small clothing that would fit, blankets, toys, and diapers. Shelly said, “This was a true blessing for us to have clothes to put on her.”

During their time at RMHC-RRV, Shelly was able to surround herself with a support network of other parents who were going through similar situations. All the families were from different places, in different situations, and had one thing in common, they would do anything to help their children heal. These connections helped Shelly the stress she was carrying on her shoulders.

“The love and support from the staff, the amenities that were offered for all ages, and all of the giving… You gave us peace of mind knowing we could be with her daily. It is hard to put in words, and at times I was speechless from all that you do for families. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and are eternally grateful for the Ronald McDonald house and staff.”

Today, Ella has blossomed into a happy and healthy six-month-old who loves to laugh and play with her toys.

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