Do you believe in miracles? I do now.
I want to tell you my family’s remarkable story, which is chock-full of miracles!
But first, I have to tell you--
I plan to run the 2019 Boston Marathon to support Ronald McDonald House!
My goal is to raise $65,000 for this non-profit, so we can fully fund two apartments for the year. These homes will allow children with life-threatening conditions to stay, free of charge, with their entire families.
Ronald McDonald House comes alongside families like yours and mine--vibrant, beautiful, and brave--who are going through the most painful time of their lives.
I invite you to join me. Kindly do two things:
1. Please click "Donate"
(blue bar, right there!)
Kindly give the most generous gift you can!
A family like mine stays 40 days for radiation therapy. This costs the charity $6,000. One day costs $150 and one-week-stay is $1,050.
2. Share this page on Facebook and Twitter
Help spread this campaign. You may share my link: bit.ly/MarathonMaura
Allow me to re-cap what happened to my family last year to explain why I would undertake this challenge.
On April 15, 2017, Rich and I rushed Natalie, then 11 years old, to the emergency department of the nearest children’s hospital. We had just learned from an MRI that she likely had a rare and growing brain tumor causing her to be blind in one eye and partially blind in the other eye.
The neurosurgeon said three things that were shocking:
1. This tumor is rare. Of the 74 million kids in the US, only 100 are diagnosed with this tumor each year. Most neurosurgeons would not have removed more than a couple. He had trained at Chicago Children’s Hospital and his partner trained at St. Jude's Children's Hospital, though, so they had successfully operated on several children with precisely this same tumor.
2. He believed Natalie’s sight might be restored if she had surgery right away.
3. He had a patient who had gone blind permanently because the surgery didn’t happen fast enough.
· Miracle #1 –We didn’t even call this neurosurgeon. He called us. This compassionate and skillful surgeon reached out to us through a mutual acquaintance. He quickly admitted Natalie to the ICU and assembled the surgical team. Soon afterwards the surgeons made the decision to remove part, but not all, of the tumor.
· Miracle #2 – A few days after the surgery, Natalie’s vision was nearly fully restored!
· Miracle #3 –The author of the leading textbook on Pediatric Radiation Oncology visited us at the hospital. This brilliant doctor told us about the types of radiation and insisted the best for her would be Proton Therapy. He urged us to go to Boston.
“Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard’s teaching hospital, has been offering Proton for nearly 50 years, you need to be there. I will make the arrangements. If your insurance company refuses to pay, I will speak to them. I’ve never been turned down.”
Can you believe this?!
Natalie needed radiation five days a week for six weeks. We could not get the radiation, however, until we had a place to stay. I had already called hotels and learned it would cost about $20,000 for just the lodging and transportation, none of which is covered by insurance.
A social worker gave me information about Ronald McDonald House that serves ALL the hospitals in Boston. She told me, though, that they could only house 12 children and families at one time. We’d be put on a wait list.
“How long is the wait list?” I asked.
“Annually, the wait list is over 1,000 families,” she gently told me, “I understand you are traveling 600 miles, and your daughter’s condition is critical, so I’ll do everything I can to help you.”
In the meantime, Natalie and I took the train to Boston for doctor appointments.
We visited Ronald McDonald House and were blown away. It was gorgeous. There was also a community apartment where families gather. I truly ached for companionship and support, and I also wanted to offer encouragement to other parents.
I was amazed that they never charge families. Ronald McDonald House offers these stunning fully-equipped apartments and dozens of personalized services free of charge (such as pet therapy, crafts and meals) so parents going through the worst time of their lives can concentrate on what matters most—helping their child get well.
The Ronald McDonald House director had an unexpected cancellation and offered us a free apartment for June and July.
Ronald McDonald House gave me hope when I needed it most.
I will never forget their kindness and generosity!
Amazingly, I was selected out of a large pool of candidates to run the prestigious Boston Marathon to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House, even though I’ve never run more than a half-marathon.
The Boston Marathon is held on the exact anniversary of Natalie’s hospital admission, April 15! What a wonderful way to celebrate life!
Natalie’s brain tumor taught me something vital—don’t just stand on the sidelines!
Jump into the race and run it! Be all in! The Lord has blessed my family and me in so many ways. I want to do and be all I can, to give Him glory and honor.
While the Lord knows I won’t earn any gold medals for speed-LOL- I do aim to win two personal challenges:
RAISE MORE MONEY FOR MCDONALD HOUSE THAN EVER BEFORE RAISED
ATTRACT MORE DONORS THAN ANY OTHER RUNNER
My great hope is that you will join me in this tremendous effort.
Would you please consider doing two things for me?
1) Please give the most generous gift you possibly can.
Just click on “DONATE”
2) Kindly share this page with a few friends and family members.
You may paste my link bit.ly/MarathonMaura in Instagram, Facebook, or forward it to your family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, former colleagues…please send it to anyone who cares about children and keeping families together, especially in a crisis.
Together, we can offer 20 precious kids and their families free housing—keeping families close—as these kiddos receive life-saving medical treatment. I invite you to join me in raising $65,000 to make this miracle happen.
Questions? Journey2Believe@gmail.com. Please put BOSTON in the subject line, so I will respond right away.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Maura Flaherty Byrnes