TAMPA, Fla. - Finding out that your child has a life-threatening illness is every parents’ worst nightmare. Often that could mean being away from home and costly medical bills.
The Bay Area chapter of a national organization is taking away some of the stress by providing food and a place to stay.
For Elizabeth Medero and her family, the Ronald McDonald House is a home away from home.
"You feel like family, yes. Everyone here feels like family," she said.
They arrived from Miami three weeks ago to have their baby at John Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St Pete.
"We were like, crazy," said Medero. "What are we going to do? Where are we going to stay?"
Her baby has a condition called congenital diaphragmatic hernia and needs months of hospital treatments.
"These families, when they come here, they come here to seek the best treatment for their child that they can," said. Joseph Citro, director of development, RMHC Tampa Bay.
They couldn't afford months in a hotel. So a friend told them about Ronald McDonald House.
"Everything is so clean, so organized, so friendly, everybody is so friendly. It has been amazing to be here actually," added Medero.
To help raise money to support the families, Ronald McDonald House is having a Super Kids campaign.
"We're honoring all the superheroes. That's, of course, the families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House. That's the nurses, doctors, and all the people that work in our community, partner hospitals, and, of course, you, the community," explained Citro.
The facility provides meals and accommodations for more than 2,000 families a year.
"Some of them don't know how long they are going to stay. They really have no idea how they are going to manage all this and so they turn to Ronald McDonald House," said Citro.
A turn that Medero is glad that her family made.
"I don't think I have enough words. To say 'thank you' first and to explain how we feel here. We feel great," she said.
Ronald McDonald House has assisted families from 37 states and 22 countries in 2019.
For more information, visit RMHCTampaBay.org.