Esther is a mother from Nigeria, she is soft spoken, has an incredible laugh and hums as she holds her baby. She came to America a few months ago to give birth because hospitals aren’t as well equipped in Africa. She experienced zero complications throughout pregnancy and gave birth to a baby boy named Great. When doctors conducted a routine checkup however, they found a heart defect. A week later, Great underwent open heart surgery.
Imagine being a mother, in a different country, having to trust doctors with your newborn.
Great’s surgery went well, but she yearned to hold her baby against her chest.
“I cried every day, because I was so scared,” she said.
Ronald McDonald House Los Angeles gave her a room so she could stay across the street from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Since moving into the House, she hasn’t cried in four weeks because she’s comforted by other families who are going through similar challenges. She also has a three-year-old daughter, Success, who kept her and her husband’s spirits high during this difficult time.
Meal of Love at Ronald McDonald House
We had the chance to meet Esther at our Meal of Love event last month. We provided the families at RMHLA with a home cooked breakfast and an arts and crafts station for the kids. Esther told us this was the first time she could bring Great out into a louder environment and enjoy breakfast as a family. They had a wonderful time and Success especially enjoyed playing with the stickers.
Great will undergo heart surgery again in a few months, but Esther said she’s not afraid anymore.
“If I were still in Nigeria, my son wouldn’t have survived,” she said.
Happy Mother’s Day
This Mother’s Day we’re celebrating the incredibly strong moms who have to watch as their child is carried away to surgery. To the mothers who may not be able to hold their child in their arms because they’re hooked up to machines, to the moms who wake up every morning ready to be an advocate for their child who faces a chronic illness. We celebrate you because you’re exceptional, you and your kids are the beating heart of Starlight.
If you would like to help bring joy and comfort to families such as Esther’s, you can donate today. Your gift combined with the gift of others helps turn pain, fear and stress into laughter, fun and joy!
Some names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.