Your Support Impacts Families Like the Stewart-Ahrendsens Continued

Brook and Sunalei welcomed their son, River, five weeks early in Santa Fe. He needed help breathing so he was flown to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, where he spent about ten days in the intensive care unit.

Being from out of town and having a newborn baby in need of medical care meant being near River was important to Brooke and Sunalei. The Highlands House provided that proximity and the overall support they needed as parents.

“To have a place to sleep, eat, rest without worrying about the logistics of buying food, finding a place to stay was incredibly helpful,” Sunalei shared.

Access to these necessities meant they could focus on what mattered most at the moment – staying by his side.

One memory that made them feel welcome was when they returned to the House around midnight and found dinner waiting for them.

“We were exhausted and hungry and were planning on just quickly grabbing some snacks to hold us over,” Sunalei shared, “But when we opened the refrigerator, there was a home-cooked vegetarian meal waiting.”

One of the volunteers had made the meal for them knowing they could not eat the dinner the Guest Chefs had prepared that evening. Sunalei shared that this simple act of kindness was so meaningful to them.

The family says it was a traumatic and difficult experience, but they were treated wonderfully by the staff and the many volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House.

“At the moment, we were focused on our child and probably could not say thanks enough – but THANK YOU! You do make a difference in the families’ lives.”

River is doing well now and is a healthy and happy 11-month-old kiddo.