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.

Simpson/Reed Family

Simpson/Reed Family


Baby Octavious is healthy and happy! The Simpson/Reed Family from Lima stayed at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio for nearly 3 months in 2021, while baby Octavious rested at the Toledo Hospital.

“We were beyond thankful to have the comfort and care of the Ronald McDonald House. Pearl (Family Services Manager) was so kind and made an impact on us while we stayed there for nearly 3 months.”

Please give and help Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio keep families close like the Simpson/Reed Family and provide the support they need. Click HERE to donate today.