Ronald McDonald House: Adrian Allen
COLUMBIA - A mid-Missouri charity has helped the family of a cerebral palsy patient in more ways than they can think.
The day a child is diagnosed with a permanent or terminal illness... so are the parents.
All of a sudden, in just a few confusing words, every detail of loving and caring for a child shifts from being a joy to being a crash course in keeping them alive.
Countless questions streaking through mom and dad's minds'... some being, how will we get him the best care? where should we go? how will we pay for it all?
To these parents, what a blessing the Ronald McDonald house is.
A place to rest and restore and regroup, so families are ready to hope and encourage and celebrate new victories on a new day.
Mathew Allen: dad - it's called being a parent, you just do it. You make your kids happy. And this is a place where you can do that.
Mathew Allen and his family know the Ronald McDonald house well.
Their home is 3 hours away in Cabool, but they stay in Columbia and live for weeks at a time at the Ronald McDonald house so 4 year-old Adrian can have intensive, daily therapy for his cerebral palsy.
Adrian's cp came from brain damage suffered during a stroke while his mom was in labor.
His parents know how different his life will be than what they had hoped for son, but they also delight in all of the ways he's just like any other a little boy.
Christina Sasser - mother
Red is his favorite color, he likes cars a lot & trucks. His favorite movie is planes.
So they plan and work and sacrifice to give Adrian every possible chance to act and feel like a kid.
Mary Mayer-physical therapist
I saw right away a little boy who had a heart to explore his environment. // to move, to communicate... but it was really difficult for him.
Mary Mayer-physical therapist: we can offer a lot of tools and methods of overcoming, but it really comes from within and Adrian has a really strong desire to overcome what's hard.
When he's in Columbia, physical therapists with the University of Mo Intensive Therapy Clinic work with Adrian for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for up to 4 weeks. They focus on a singular physical skill. Weeks concentrating on grasping a ball... or turning his head to the side.
The therapy alone can cost upward of six thousand dollars each round.
Terri gray: exec. Director of rmhc of mid-Missouri
having a child who is born with a disability is devastating to a family. Not just emotionally, but potentially financially.
// mounting medical bills, you don't know how long your child is going to be in the hospital receiving treatment. It's just a big unknown for so many families. It's scary.
Matthew and Christina know that fear. They had to ask themselves, will money keep us from doing everything possible for our son?
Christina Sasser - mom: we have bills at home to pay. We wouldn't be able to afford a motel and drive back & forth.
Christina Sasser - mom: i don't think we would have been able to do it. Honestly.
Mary Mayer-physical therapist: the Ronald McDonald house has been a full aspect to the program we're offering here.one of the benefits i can tell my parents is, "by the way, we have a place where you can stay, and it's free."
Having a bed, and a kitchen, and a shower
Matthew Allen: dad
This is an insanely nice place. I'm from a small town; we don't have places like this where i come from.
And a smile greeting them when they call the Ronald McDonald house home is worth so much.
Because when it comes to helping a child with special needs, there's no market value for a mother's gratitude... and no reasonable price to be paid to help a father feel a little less overwhelmed.
on any given night, 18 families can stay in the house.
Adrian and his family, which now includes a new baby brother as of December, will be staying in one of those rooms the month of march.
They'll be calling Columbia home for another month of intensive therapy.