When Abi was born, Deysy knew she would have to tackle her own fears – flying on a plane, traveling to an unknown city in a different country, staying with strangers who didn’t speak her language – to help her daughter walk. Abi, who was born with a shortened fibula and an absent tibia, came to RMHSNJ when she was a year old to see specialists at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
When she walked in for the first time, she said that the descriptions of the house fell short of what she felt: “it was like walking into your home, miles away from your own family, and finding that each person who is in it has a spirit of service. It was like meeting angels.” Since 2014, Deysy and Abi have stayed a total of 372 days, some of which were very difficult because “being away from family is never easy.” Deysy adds that “the greatest gift the house gave me was time with my daughter, whether it was in the playroom or on a trip with the other families, or in moments of play with volunteer friends.”
This year, Abi underwent a surgery to amputate her leg and replace it with a prosthetic that will allow her to walk without assistance for the first time in her life. “For me, being able to see my little girl enjoying everything that was made available to her (and forgetting that in a few short weeks she would have a major surgery) makes me eternally thankful to each and every person who makes an effort to make every child in the house happy. My Abigail is happy to have a home in RMHSNJ. If we were given the choice to stay anywhere, we would pick RMH a million times over.”
Besides appreciating the House’s services – a comfortable room, homemade meals, transportation – Deysy says that being around families with so many different medical needs has taught her family to strive to be helpful and supportive of the other families they are sharing the house with because they “want to help others the same way [they] have been helped.”