JaLee, Derek, and Collins

4/14/2022 RMHC of Central Illinois

JaLee and Derek had an unexpected stay at the Peoria Ronald McDonald House when their daughter, Collins, was born at 27 weeks two-day gestation. Collins ended up spending 111 days in the NICU at OSF Children's Hospital of Illinois due to her extreme prematurity and a heart condition. Jaylee was aware of the RMHCCI, but the nurses in the NICU were the ones who provided them with the information to request a room at the House.

When asked about her favorite part about staying at the Peoria House is, Jaylee said:
"My favorite part of staying at RMHCCI was having a place where I could truly feel comfortable and "at-home" in a while, still being so close to the hospital to access my daughter at all times. The staff were so caring and made coming back from long 12+ hour days in the hospital not feel so lonely. My husband had to stay at home and could not take as much time off work, so knowing that I still had someone to come back to every day and talk to, really helped on some of the especially difficult days. The convenience of being less than 5 minutes from the hospital was the most helpful part of staying in the House and the comforts of home. Having meals provided and laundry facilities were a huge help!"

JaLee speaks about the House to anyone who will listen. She encourages everyone to stay at RMHCCI if they have a child receiving medical care who needs a place to stay close to their child. She said, "It's such a caring environment, and knowing that there was no cost to us during a very stressful time was incredibly helpful. I cannot share enough positive words and gratitude to the RMHCCI House and staff for what they provided us during a tough time in our lives. Everyone who works at the Peoria house is phenomenal, from the administrative and desk staff to the security guards and housekeeper; everyone was kind and thoughtful. They gave me reasons to smile and feel better when things were very tough with my daughter's medical needs."

Make a gift to support families like Derek, JaLee, and Collins.