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Smith Family Story

Everything changed for our family on April 15, 2021, my son Hunter was diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Those definitely were not the words I expected to hear from the doctor! We started this journey at West Valley Emergency Room in Caldwell and were transferred to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Downtown Boise. That was the longest drive I’ve ever had from Caldwell to Boise to say the least. Looking back 2 ½ years later, it’s been a complete whirlwind!

I had been aware of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, but I never knew everything they do for families and what they would end up meaning to us. It all started on our first day in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. As a mother, I was so swept up in what was going on with Hunter and his medical needs that my needs never came to my attention until a nurse asked if I had eaten anything. She handed me a little brown bag with a Ronald McDonald House sticker on it that had a sandwich, some snacks, chips, a homemade cookie inside and a beautiful handwritten note with some words of much needed encouragement. Who knew that inside this little bag was more than just some food, it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I stayed in the PICU with him for the first couple nights until they asked me if I would be interested in staying at Ronald McDonald House across the street. A nice hot shower did sound amazing, so I set up the appointment to go visit the House and get a room.

When I arrived at the House, I was so shocked and pleasantly surprised. I don’t know what I was really expecting but I know it wasn’t that! They have multiple kitchens so families can cook if they choose to, a playground for kids, a game room complete with arcade games, gaming consoles and board games, a kid’s playroom with tons of toys and books, laundry facilities and a private room with a bathroom, mini fridge, TV and of course a nice comfy bed! The staff cooks dinner every evening for the families so we can have a nice hot, home cooked meal after a hard day at the hospital.

The amazing staff have become our extended family and helped us so much throughout Hunter’s treatments. Hunter had a lot of complications during his treatment process, especially early on, and they were there for us every step of the way. Over the last 2 ½ years, RMHC of Idaho always had a place for us whenever we have needed it – for 86 nights to be exact! They have given us some pretty cool experiences too. Hunter was selected to meet and have lunch with the BSU Quarterback, Hank Bachmeier and our family was honored to be his guest at the game that week.

We will be eternally grateful for the amazing staff at RMHC of Idaho for everything they have done for our family during the worst time in our lives. Thank you so much!!!!

~ Smith Family | Homedale, ID | 86 Nights at the House

Help provide a home away from home for more families like the Smith family!

For only $10, you can give families of ill or injured children a home away from home by providing a night stay at the Idaho Ronald McDonald House. Families are asked to contribute $10 per night, but no family is ever turned away because they cannot pay.