Lauren was born in 2011 at Winnie Palmer Hospital and looked to be a healthy baby. The hospital performs pulse ox screening on all of their newborn babies before they are discharged to go home. Lauren failed the screening by one percentage point and was sent for an echocardiogram. The test results confirmed a congenital heart defect known as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Vein Return (TAPVR). Instead of being discharged and starting their new life as a family, Patrick and Melanie Doubleday found themselves fighting for Lauren’s life at just three days old.
When Lauren was going to be transferred to the Cardiac ICU at Arnold Palmer Hospital, one of the nurses told Patrick and Melanie that she would get the paperwork started for their stay at the Ronald McDonald House. At that point, they knew how serious the situation was in front of them. While Lauren recovered from open-heart surgery, Patrick and Melanie were blessed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for 11 days. Patrick can still recall that it was 155 steps from the front door of the Ronald McDonald House to the front door of Arnold Palmer Hospital, an unbelievably short distance compared with having to drive back and forth from home to be with their newborn.
The Ronald McDonald House provided them with a clean and comfortable room, shower, laundry facilities, and meals; in short, a home away from home. With all of their needs being met, they could keep their focus on what was most important at the time – ensuring that Lauren received the best care possible and was loved.
Lauren is now a healthy seven-year-old who loves to play pretend, swim and do karate. Patrick and Melanie did not expect to have a critically ill child, but they are so thankful for the services that were available to them when they needed them the most. Patrick and Melanie now donate their time and resources to help ensure the Ronald McDonald houses are ready to assist other families so that they, too, can stay close to their critically ill child when it is most important. While the skilled doctors and nurses saved Lauren’s life, Patrick and Melanie believe that the Ronald McDonald House saved them as parents.