BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — For every parent, finding out your newborn infant has a serious medical condition is the worst news possible. For the Sloan parents, when their third son Evan was born with a heart condition, it meant spending night after night at the hospital, or in hotel rooms, worried.
Before they knew it, a year went by, Christina Sloan had spent countless nights sleeping in cots in the hospital, while her husband stayed in hotel rooms. They never even thought about the cost — though they estimate that first year they spent around 15-thousand just on hotels.
“It was rough,” said Quincy, Christina’s husband.
But then their social worker asked them if they knew about the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that provides a home on-site or near hospitals so that families with seriously ill children have one less thing to worry about.
“When your child is in need, and you’re just stressed out, you’re just happy to just be close,” Quincy said.
The Sloan family’s struggles wouldn’t end there though.
“The most hard times were recent when in 2018 I had to have another heart surgery and that was really painful,” said Evan.
For the last 19 years, Evan has had multiple conditions that required major surgeries. Over the years, the family and Evan have relied on the Ronald McDonald House as a sense of comfort.
“When I was able to leave the hospital and stay at the RMH with them, it’s truly a blessing because it’s hard when you don’t have your sibling with you. You know my brothers, as a little kid, if I had a surgery they would get the pain off my mind,” Evan said. ”I wasn’t worried about the pain I was worried about having fun with my brothers.”
Even in the last few years, Evan has struggled.
“When he was born, I was really thinking that this was going to be something they could fix and it was temporary. I never thought that it’d be 19 years of going through different hospital stays, different surgeries, different medical conditions,” Quincy said.
But thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, he’s had his family close. so he’s able to keep focused on the positive, like the moments he spends playing games with his mom, and the memories he has growing up with his brothers in the house.
Fred and Francis Hill started the Ronald McDonald House.
“The very first house was 1974 but our first big fundraiser we had was 1972,” said Fred.
Their daughter Kim was the inspiration for the Ronald McDonald House — and even helped to start a few houses herself.
When Kim was a child, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Fred, a former tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, held a team fundraiser raising over $10,000 for the Leukemia Society of America.
As their daughter continued her battle with cancer, the family continued to bring about ways of helping other families just like them.
And so Ronald McDonald Houses popped up across the world, everyone with the intent of helping families in need. Even the Hills.
“We know all the people at the Ronald McDonald House in Orange County,” Francis said. “And they were always so nice to Kim, so of course when we asked if we could stay there because she was going to have her surgery very early and all of her relatives were able to see her the night before.”
Though Kim’s battle with Leukemia ended in 2011, the work she and her parent’s inspired continues to help families to this day.