Nicholas Rizo’s Family

Halfway through their pregnancy with twins, Carly and Eric Rizo went in for a routine anatomy scan. It was then when doctors discovered that one of their twins, Nicholas, had congenital heart disease with a few defects. Nicholas was going to need surgery to repair his heart once he was born.

“We were overwhelmed and scared for the safety of Nicholas and his twin and what the future would look like for Nicholas’ care,” Carly said.  

Nicholas had his first open heart surgery at just nine days old, and another four months later. He underwent his third open heart surgery in February 2023.  

His family, parents Carly and Eric and Nicholas’ two brothers, have leaned on Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana for a place to stay close to Nicholas during his procedures and recovery. While Nicholas recovers, they can easily be by his side while having a comfortable and caring environment to return to after long days at the hospital.  

“We’re from Montgomery, which is about 50 miles from Lurie Children’s,” Carly and Eric noted. “If Ronald McDonald House wasn’t available, we would have to travel 100 miles every day just to be at our son’s bedside. As parents we would do whatever it takes to be with him, but we’re lucky we don’t have to travel back and forth. Ronald McDonald House allows us to focus on Nicholas and watch him thrive.” 

Ronald McDonald House has provided the Rizo family more than just a place to stay.  

“It’s a home away from home,” Carly and Eric said. “We don’t have to stress about food or transportation to and from the hospital. The staff are always extremely helpful and accommodating. Ronald McDonald House is a family!” 

After a long 349 days at Ronald McDonald House and Nicholas in the hospital, the Rizo family is going home! We wish them the best and are thrilled to see their smiling faces return home for the first time as a family of five.