Brian and Jennifer Godish came to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s when their four-year-old son Bradley was diagnosed with leukemia in late 2014. Prior to his diagnosis, Bradley was a normal child until he began complaining of foot pain, was running a fever and vomiting. Mother Jennifer took Bradley to the pediatrician, where his white blood count indicated leukemia. They immediately took him to their local hospital, where the diagnosis was confirmed, along with pneumonia.
Seeking the best possible treatment for their son, parents Brian and Jennifer sought treatment at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. It was at the hospital that the family was told about the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s.
“I didn’t know much about the Ronald McDonald House, what it was or what it represented,” Brian said. When the family toured the House, they realized it was where they needed to be if they were going to keep their family together.
Bradley began receiving treatment in early November 2014, which included a stem cell transplant. All family members were tested and thankfully, his twin sister Charlotte was determined to be a perfect match to donate.
“It was our home away from home,” Brian said. “The House kept us going physically and mentally and made our time at the hospital so much better. When you are trying to get your family’s life on track, the House was there for us,” he said.
The family, which includes parents Brian and Jennifer, Bradley’s twin sister Charlotte and baby brother Camden became a part of the Ronald McDonald House family for almost six months while Bradley received treatment. Parents took turns spending time in the hospital with Bradley while the rest of the family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. The House became such a critical part of the family’s life that when Charlotte woke up from her donor surgery, she asked when she could return to the House.
The family also benefitted from spending time with the other families at the House. “Everyone is there fighting so everyone comes together. Staying at the House makes you feel normal,” Brian said.
In April, Bradley’s treatment was completed and he has subsequently been determined to be cancer free more than 100 days.