Finding Home Away from Home: A Family’s Journey at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio

July 19, 2023 | Family Story, News

When life takes unexpected turns and little ones face health challenges, having a supportive and comforting environment can make all the difference. The Shamplo family from Pittsford, Michigan, knows this firsthand. Over the years, they have relied on the caring embrace of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Northwest Ohio during their children’s hospital stays.

Amanda Shamplo, the mother, not only experienced RMHC through her children’s stays but also had her own encounter with the House during her childhood.

“Before becoming a parent myself, I had a firsthand experience with the Ronald McDonald House in Toledo. My brother was born prematurely, and our family used RMHC during his time in the hospital. I remember the sense of comfort and support we received. Little did I know that years later, I would return to the House with my own children and find solace in the same loving environment.”

In 2016, Amanda’s youngest son, Clifford, was born with gastroschisis, marking the beginning of their journey with RMHC.

“We were in a state of shock during that stay. I couldn’t hold Clifford, and I thought we had lost him. But when we arrived at Ronald McDonald House, we felt a sense of relief. I remember sitting on the big couch, thinking, ‘This is really happening. I’m at the House now.’ It smelled good, and I felt comfortable. We knew they would be there for us. I was ready to sleep in my truck if I had to. The staff always kept my mind at ease, checking in on my mental state and treating us like family.”

Their journey continued in subsequent years, as Amanda shares.

“In 2017, our second son, Marshall, was born prematurely. We spent six to eight weeks at the hospital, and RMHC once again became our home. Having a child to take between Ronald McDonald House and the hospital was nerve-wracking. The staff’s support and the proximity to the hospital made a world of difference. We felt the love and care every step of the way.”

Over time, the Shamplo family faced additional challenges, with Marshall experiencing RSV at six months old and their youngest son, Hayze, needing medical attention shortly after birth. Amanda shares the impact RMHC had on their journey.

“Hayze was flown from Hillsdale because he was born sunny side up and took his first breath with fluid. Even though his stay at RMHC was shorter, the impact was just as profound,” says Amanda. Now, almost three years old, Hayze embodies the joy and resilience nurtured within the walls of the House.

Reflecting on their experiences, Amanda highlights the most beneficial aspects of their stays at RMHC.

“The presence of other children was wonderful for our family. Our kids enjoyed the playground and playroom, giving them a sense of normalcy during challenging times. The holidays were especially heartwarming. RMHC took care of us, providing gift baskets and making us feel special. But beyond all that, it’s the feeling that RMHC made us feel like family. They acknowledged that something was wrong in our lives but reassured us that we could get through it together. They knew we were going through a really difficult time.”

In the midst of their own struggles, the Shamplo family has found an appreciation for giving back.

“I do a fundraiser on Facebook for birthdays and we collect pounds of aluminum pull tabs for RMHC. It’s a small way for us to show our gratitude and support the House that has been there for us in our darkest moments.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio has become more than just a place to stay for the Shamplo family.

“It’s not easy to describe what RMHC means to us. It’s a home away from home, a major part of our lives. Even though our boys may not remember their stays, we always say that was their first House. The impact of RMHC on our family is immeasurable.”

The Shamplo family’s journey at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio exemplifies the profound impact that a supportive and nurturing environment can have on families facing medical challenges. Through their own experiences and Amanda’s personal connection with RMHC, they have witnessed firsthand the care, love, and sense of community that the House provides.

As you reflect on the Shamplo family’s story, consider the power of your support in making a difference for families in need. By donating or getting involved with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, you can help provide comfort, hope, and a home away from home for families during their most challenging times. Click HERE or the donate button in the bottom right corner to support families staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio.