Family Story: The Wilkerson and Ewing Family

Family Story: The Wilkerson and Ewing Family

The Wilkerson and Ewing family had a 6-night stay at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. Baby Allayna was vomiting and not eating, so the Wilkerson and Ewing family took her to Toledo. While baby Allayna was hospitalized and recovering, Emily (mother) and Alan (father) utilized RMHC of NW Ohio.

During their 6-night stay, the Wilkerson and Ewing family were grateful to be close to baby Allayna. “Our drive from Norwalk to Toledo was an hour and a half” says Emily Wilkerson. “Having the Ronald McDonald House to keep us close to Allayna and not having to worry about traveling back and forth, reduced a lot of stress and anxiety.”

While staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, the Wilkerson and Ewing family found the meal program and pantry donations to be beneficial. “The meals were amazing and we appreciate all the hard work volunteers put towards them” said Emily. “We were able to sit down and have a nice family meal or grab and go to the hospital to be with Allayna.”

Baby Allayna is now a happy and healthy girl. Pictured is Emily and Alan with Allayna at her cousin’s football game. Your support helps families like the Wilkerson and Ewing family stay close to their child as they recover.

Family In Need Of Support Meets A Familiar Name And A Helping Hand

Family In Need Of Support Meets A Familiar Name And A Helping Hand

Early Arrivals 

Meagan White was expecting to have twins in August. Her life was upended when she found out that, instead, she would deliver her newborns at just 33 weeks in Adrian, Michigan via C-Section. Levi and Miles were born on June 15, weighing 4 lbs. (Levi) and 5 lbs. (Miles), respectively.

Once healthy enough to transport the twins, Levi and Miles were transferred to the NICU at Toledo Children’s Hospital. “It was a very stressful time,” said Meagan. “I was recovering in Adrian and could not see the twins for days, but the doctors and nurses were in communication with my partner and I, and we knew they were in good hands.”

In Need Of Support

“With gas prices being high, our family having only one car, and living over an hour away, it was a stressful experience to think about how we were going to travel to Toledo,” said Meagan. “The hospital staff in Adrian and at Toledo Children’s Hospital helped me figure out where I was going to stay.” 

That’s where Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio entered the White family story. 

Upon arriving at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, Meagan immediately recognized the importance of the proximity to Toledo Children’s Hospital. “As we were concerned about driving, having to walk less than 5 minutes to see our babies was a relief,” Meagan explained. 

A Familiar Name and A Helping Hand

“I was familiar with the Ronald McDonald House, but I didn’t realize the extent of their services,” Meagan said. “My family used the Ronald McDonald House in Ann Arbor when I was going through medical challenges as a child.” 

Meagan was appreciative of the amenities and care provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.

“As soon as I arrived, I was greeted with welcome bags for Levi and Miles filled with clothes, blankets and other items needed to care for them,” Meagan said. “Having the pantry stocked and meals prepared for us, allowed me to focus on Levi and Miles.”

At no point did Meagan have to pay for the services she received at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. 

Going Home

After 50 nights of staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, Meagan was able to go home in August of 2022. Levi and Miles are doing well, however, Levi will need to come back to Toledo for a heart procedure at the end of 2022. 

“RMHC saved us from a time of stress and struggle,” said Meagan. “I am so thankful for how hard everyone at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio works to take care of every family that comes through their doors.”

Consider donating to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio so we continue to provide for families like the White family. Donate HERE or by clicking the button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Ragen and Lowe family grateful for stay at RMHC of NW Ohio.

Ragen and Lowe family grateful for stay at RMHC of NW Ohio.

For Danielle Ragen and Matthew Lowe, it was just a normal Wednesday night and they were ready to leave for a Detroit Tigers’ baseball game. Danielle felt some discomfort and pain in her stomach and that’s when the Ragen/Lowe family decided to go to Bellevue Hospital for a check-up. Shortly after, doctors decided that at 32 weeks pregnant, Danielle was to give birth to her baby boy, Daxton, on July 6.

Once Daxton was stable, Bellevue Hospital was able to transport him to the Toledo Children’s Hospital where he has been monitored since. Danielle, Matthew and their 3-year-old daughter Brooklyn arrived shortly after and began their stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.

“We knew of the Ronald McDonald House, but we didn’t fully understand what they provide for families,” said Danielle. “Brooklyn thinks it is a big hotel; she loves it.” Matthew added, “The Ronald McDonald House has been a real blessing to our family. Not having to find daycare or travel two hours a day really allows us to focus on Daxton.”

Family support has also been a huge asset to the Ragen/Lowe family over the last couple of weeks. Friends and neighbors have mowed their lawn, as well as family members have checked in on their home, collected mail, and done countless other acts of kindness.

When asked about which room is her favorite, Brooklyn is quick to say, “My favorite room is the playroom where I get to play with the baby dolls.” Brooklyn has been a noticeable fan of the playground and playroom, always with a smile and enjoying the amenities that are provided.

The Ragen/Lowe family went home on August 8, 2022. “We are over-the-moon grateful for what Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio has provided us, but we’re excited to go home,” said Matthew.

At Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, we provide comfort, care and support, so families can focus on the thing that matters most, being close to their hospitalized children. Consider making a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio so that we can support families like the Ragen and Lowe family in their time of need.

Donate HERE.

Braniecki Family – Celebrating Lyla’s First Birthday!

Braniecki Family – Celebrating Lyla’s First Birthday!

Kari and Matthew Braniecki stayed at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio for 74 nights in 2021 while their daughter Lyla recovered in NICU. Last month, the Braniecki family celebrated Lyla’s first birthday! We caught up with the Braniecki family to see how Lyla is doing and for them to share their thoughts on RMHC. Below is a message from Kari Braniecki:

My husband and I came to RMHC because our daughter Lyla was born 13 weeks early and was going to require a long term NICU stay. We live an hour away in Marblehead, so the option to stay somewhere that was walking distance from my newborn was a beautiful gift. It was especially helpful in the first couple weeks as I was recovering from a severe case of preeclampsia as well as a C-section. As Lyla got bigger and stronger and more aware, I spent longer and longer days in the NICU to work on feeding. To not have to take 2 hours a day out of that time driving to and from Marblehead was priceless.

Lyla is doing fantastic. She is hitting milestones for her true age (instead of her adjusted age which is 3 months younger) and is such a happy, inquisitive, spirited little girl.

Other than the house being within walking distance to the hospital, I really appreciated the homemade dinners every night. It was such a blessing to be able to spend as much time as I could with my daughter and not have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking. The open kitchen/pantry was amazing as well.  It was so easy to grab leftovers or something tasty from the shelves for a quick lunch or breakfast. And I know sweets get a bad rap, but at that stressful time, I really needed comfort food!  When I would walk into RMHC and smell cookies or brownies baking, it brought a smile to my face (and stomach!) every time! Everything was so delicious!!

Even though our family and friends could not visit us at the house, they were incredibly supportive while we were going through this NICU experience. My husband and I were able to be strong for our daughter because we had so many people helping us to stand on our feet day in and day out.

Everybody was so kind at RMHC. To come back to the house after sometimes worrisome or stressful days in the NICU and to have everybody you pass say hello and give you a smile is something that touched my heart. Some even got to know who I was and would ask about Lyla.  In a place where you are away from your friends and family (especially during COVID times), it was comforting to have someone know you well enough to know what was going on in your life and to care enough to ask about it.

Thank you to RMHC and to everyone who works for and volunteers with this amazing organization. They provided us with the ability to be physically close to our daughter for the duration of her hospital stay and that was the most amazing gift that we could have during that time.

Consider a gift to RMHC of NW Ohio so that we are able to support families like the Braniecki family. Give HERE.

International Students Grateful For A Home-Away-From-Home

International Students Grateful For A Home-Away-From-Home

Chioma Family

Toledo, Ohio – February 19 was a normal day for the Amadi/Akujuobi family until baby Chimzurum was born earlier than expected. The couple from Bowling Green gave birth via C-section at the Wood County Hospital with help from experts from the Toledo Hospital. Once Chioma and baby Chimzurum were stable, Chimzurum was flown to Toledo Hospital for increased monitoring.

Chioma Amadi and Mmaduabuchi Akujuobi are international students from Nigeria currently studying at Bowling Green State University and staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. Chioma is working on a doctoral degree in leadership studies, while Mmaduabuchi is completing a master’s degree in education. “Our professors at BGSU have been helpful and flexible in terms of assignment due dates,” commented Chioma. “We sometimes wake up at night, especially while I’m pumping breast milk, to do school work even if it’s for one hour.”

“Having food available for us to take to the hospital during our long visits with Chimzurum is something we are very grateful for,” said Mmaduabuchi. The Amadi/Akujuobi family has been able to make traditional Nigerian food at RMHC when they have time.

Staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio has been an eye-opening experience for the Amadi/Akujuobi family. “How can we bring something like this to Nigeria?” says Chioma. “The hospitality of the staff and volunteers is top-notch. Ever since we arrived, the staff have assisted us with all of our needs.”

Click HERE to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.

Nafziger Family

Nafziger Family


Nafziger Family

Penny was born a healthy baby girl at the Toledo Hospital on February 12, 2018. We were set to take our firstborn home from the hospital when she starting having breathing difficulties. Multiple life-threatening apneic episodes lead the NICU to be called. They took wonderful care of our daughter. After various clear tests of her heart and lungs, her MRI revealed a spot on her left temporal lobe, indicating Penny suffered a stroke in utero.

While Penny was being cared for, Steve and I (Abbey) were fortunate enough to be able to stay at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio. This will forever be a place dear to our hearts. In our time of need, they certainly lived up to their mission of keeping families close, while providing comfort, care, and support to our family. One area that was particularly special to us was their nightly meal on the house. What a blessing to know that we could leave Penny in the hands of her wonderful doctors and nurses and go back “home” to enjoy a hot meal. We are forever grateful to have left a family of three, but we knew our time at the RMHC was not over. This blessing stirred us to want to give back. Each year for Penny’s birthday, with the help of her loving grandparents, we’ve made it a tradition to come to the RMHC to provide a meal for its guests.

For Penny’s 4th birthday this year, she really began to gain an understand of who we are helping out and why we are doing this. She is especially fond of the RMHC toy room! We hope that our story not only causes you to see God’s hand in sweet Penny’s life as He protected her from a stroke, but also helps you discover God’s faithful and loving hand in your own lives. There are so many ways you can give back to your local RMHC — just ask!

Click HERE to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.