LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Ronald McDonald House here in downtown Louisville has been a home away from home for thousands of families from all over the country. As they prepare for their Red Tie Gala this weekend, we spoke to a family who has stayed there for five months.
They've faced several challenges in life during their stay, but Shannon and Marty say those challenges have ONLY strengthened their appreciation for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana.
At 23 weeks pregnant, Shannon Hancock knew something was wrong when she began having complications. She was transported to a hospital here in Louisville from her home 100 miles away.
"A week later after that, I went into labor," Hancock said. "They couldn't stop it, so we had to have an emergency C-section for them."
When mother Shannon, and father Marty, realized their twins could be in the NICU for a while, they were completely unsure what they could do to stay in Louisville. Born on October 20th, the twins (a little girl, Adeline and little boy, Sailor) each weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth. Sailor still has a few weeks left in Norton Children's Hospital, but Adeline has been out of the hospital for a few weeks.
"She's a daddy's girl," Hancock said as Adeline reached for her father after hearing his voice. She's now up to 8 pounds, and even trying to lift her head.
Norton Children's Hospital immediately referred them to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana.
"I don't know what we'd have done without it," Gish said. "If we were to try to recreate the amount of hospitality we've gotten from Ronald McDonald House, five months in a hotel stay in Louisville, I mean it'd be 35-40 thousand dollars."
A little more than seven weeks into their stay, the family faced another hurdle. Their home in Breman, Kentucky was destroyed by a tornado.
"I can look out what used to be our kitchen window, and see three houses, of what used to be our neighbors, who lost people to the tornado," Gish said. "So, me complaining about losing stuff is something that sounds ridiculous to me."
When the staff at the Ronald McDonald house found out what happened, they immediately began to do what they can to help.
"They gave us a donation when they found out we had lost our home to the tornado," Gish said. "All the staff members got together and gave us a donation."
A contagious kind of help, when the time comes, Marty and Shannon cannot wait to volunteer at RMHCK to pass it on to more families in need.
"I told Marty, after the first week of being here, as soon as I get the chance to give back or volunteer, it'll be here," Shannon said. "Whether it be in a donation or my time.
"It's the least we can do," Marty said.
If you would like to donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana, you can click here.
You can also help their mission by attending their Red Tie Gala this Saturday, March 5. More information on the Gala, including tickets and auction items can be found here.