The Porter Family Story
A brave little girl with a huge heart
“We didn’t know how many birthdays we were going to get, so we celebrated every milestone to the fullest.”
When COVID-19 hit New Mexico back in March, Robin Porter’s family was perhaps more prepared than anyone else in the state. “We have been socially distancing for years,” said Robin’s mom in a phone conversation earlier this year. The family is one we at Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico hold dear. They’re a constant reminder that our work truly does make a difference in the lives of local families.
Robin was born three-and-a-half months early in January 2009, weighing only 1 lb. 5 oz. She was admitted to the NICU at UNM Hospital, where her parents, Rod and Paige feared they would have to live in their car while staying in Albuquerque. “We were living in Taos at the time, and we knew the cost of staying in a hotel would just be too much,” Paige said. For the first three days of Robin’s life, her parents were not allowed to hold her. “We had never even heard her cry, it was just terrifying as a new mom.” Paige also went through health complications after the birth, putting more stress on her husband. “The poor guy, I don’t think he slept for three days! That’s when our social worker told us about an open spot at the Ronald McDonald House.”
The Porter family ultimately stayed at the House for 233 days while Robin recovered. She was born on a Wednesday, but the family says they never knew how many Wednesdays she’d have left, so each week, they baked her a birthday cake in the Yale House kitchen to share with all her nurses. It was a tradition that helped them get through those first trying months.
Throughout the first year of her life, Robin had surgeries for a collapsed lung, a feeding tube, and more. When the H1N1 virus hit local hospitals, the Porters had a choice to make. “They told us we could keep her at the hospital, but they couldn’t promise she wouldn’t be exposed to the virus, so we ultimately chose to take her home.”
With Robin’s compromised immune system, the Porters practiced social distancing and stayed home with her and their two older sons. Thankfully, as the years passed Robin has grown stronger, tackling each surgery that comes her way. Over the last decade, the Porter family stayed at the House for an additional 42 nights while Robin underwent surgeries. Now almost 12 years old, Robin serves as an inspiration to many, often speaking to families at the House who are experiencing similar trials.
She is an outgoing girl who loves animals and is an active participant in her local 4H club in Grady, New Mexico. She also raises chickens and has enough pets to start her own small zoo. Her favorite subject in school is math, but she also enjoys public speaking and has a passion for horses. She is a brave young woman with her whole life ahead of her and we are so grateful we get to share her story with you today.
Looking back at her time in the Ronald McDonald House, Robin’s mom says being able to stay close to her daughter was a godsend. “Our stay at Ronald McDonald House was wonderful – a real life-saver. With the help of families and staff, we learned to be patient, and to find and give support whenever it was needed.” Your support helps keep families like the Porters close to the care they need, be it for a few weeks, or over decades, and for that we are thankful.