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Kilcreases want to help Ronald McDonald House

Jamie and Missy Kilcrease understand the need for expansion at the Ronald McDonald House in Mobile.

A room shortage at the Ronald McDonald House kept the couple on the road for a week and searching for a hotel for another week all while stressing over the condition of their newborn twins.

Brayden and Maddox Kilcrease, now 15 months old, were born after 32 weeks of pregnancy in June 2009 requiring them to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at USA Medical Center. The six weeks the twins were at the hospital were stressful in many ways for the Kilcrease family.

“We had to drive back and forth from Brewton to Mobile every day,” Jamie said. “There weren’t any rooms available at the Ronald McDonald House and we just couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel.”

But despite the lack of room, the staff at RMH worked hard to make things easier for the family during the weeks following the hospitalization of the twins, Missy said.

“The staff there was wonderful,” Missy said. “They eventually found us a hotel room for $30 a night. That worked out fine until the July 4th holiday came and there we lost that room. After the holiday, they found us a room at no cost for several nights until a room became available at the RMH.”

Jamie said the days spent without a room at the hospitality house were made easier for them, thanks to some generous donations.

“We were invited to spend the days at RMH while we were there,” Jamie said. “We were able to eat there and rest there when we weren’t with the boys. The meals were brought in and through the donations that make RMH possible, we were able to get some rest.”

Missy, who had delivered by C-section, needed a comfortable place to rest when the couple couldn’t be in NICU facilities at the hospital. RMH made that possible.

“We were able to go to RMH and take some time to relax,” Missy said. “The time was very stressful for us and getting a chance to relax in a recliner or on a sofa was very nice. The food was good and we didn’t have to pay for any of that until we got a room there.”

Meals, which were “home cooked” meals, were brought in by civic organizations and nursing departments, Jamie said. The cost of meals is included in the fee for rooms at RMH.

A few weeks into their adventure in Mobile, the Kilcreases were able to get a room to stay near their children.

“We were only about a quarter of a mile away from the hospital,” Missy said. “Being that close was a blessing. That way we were able to spend every moment with the boys until they were strong enough to come home.”

Jamie said having the luxury of staying at RMH made the stressful situation easier.

“The drive back and forth was rough,” Jamie said. “Finally getting into a room there was a big relief. We only had to pay $12 a night for the room and that included our food there as well. We wouldn’t have made it without the RMH. Being able to be there relieved a lot of the stress we were under at the time.”

With the experience behind them, the Kilcrease’s have increased their support of Ronald McDonald House.

“Since we benefited so much from RMH, we have a little different attitude about helping when we can,” Missy said. “Now, we do whatever we can to help out. We help with fundraising and encourage others to help as well.”

The stories of how Ronald McDonald House has offered a haven for many stressed parents have created a desire for others to help create additional availability of rooms. Marcia DeGraaf is working with a group of volunteers who are planning a fundraiser to help RMH officials do just that.

“The Ronald McDonald House is planning a huge expansion,” DeGraaf said. “A group of Brewton residents have formed a committee to hold a fundraiser to help with the cost of the expansion.”

A special event, McCheers, will be held Nov. 4 at the Brewton Country Club and will feature many opportunities for contributions including a silent auction.

“We are hoping to raise $25,000 to help with the RMH expansion,” DeGraaf said. “If we can raise that amount, there may soon be a ‘Brewton’ room for people who need to be there.”

Tickets to the event are $50 each and can be purchased by calling 867-5767. To learn more about Ronald McDonald House, visit their Website at www.rmhmobile.com. Complete details for the McCheers event can be found at the site.