Ryder Underwood

A family’s donation comes full circle

We know… it’s 2017 and we’re just now getting around to incorporating a blog. We hope you’ll forgive us our delayed entry into the blogosphere, though. It seemed fitting that as we reach 30 years of service in 2017, one of the special ways we can celebrate is to provide even more stories of life at the Reno Ronald McDonald House to you, our dear friends and supporters.

That’s why today’s blog is so special. We’re leading with Ryder’s story, a sweet little guy who was born and rushed into surgery, a scary scenario for any parent. His mother didn’t even get a chance to hold him. The time crept by.

“When I got to see him after a few hours, it was exciting and upsetting,” said his mom, Carolina Estrada. She recalls his skin was tinged purple, except for his stomach, swollen and gray. “It wasn’t how I was expecting to see him, but I tried to [stay] positive.”Ryder Underwood

Carolina had known Ryder would need surgery but the rush was still scary. A day before his birth an ultrasound revealed a blockage in his rectum that kept him from absorbing critical nutrients for development. On the drive home, contractions began. That night her water broke and the family from Coleville, California, made their way to Renown Children’s Hospital.

Ryder was born on November 12 and was then swept away to have the obstruction removed. “It was terrifying,” said Carolina. “He didn’t cry or anything. It was hard but at the same time it was good to know he was in the right place.”

Even though Ryder was in the right hands, a new wave of concern washed over Carolina. Hotels for the weeks it would take for Ryder recovery would be expensive. “How was I going to be able to see him?” Carolina remembers thinking. “How am I going to travel two hours back and forth every day, with the weather and gas? The scariest part was trying to process all this. I just didn’t want to leave his side.”

When a social worker referred her to the Reno Ronald McDonald House, Carolina felt instant relief. She also had a moment of recognition, recalling that her father had consistently donated to the charity years ago. Suddenly faced with a child in the hospital, it all made sense.

Ryder Underwood and Carolina Estrada“I really didn’t know what [the House] was, but we’re so lucky,” said Carolina. “I don’t know what I would have done if I wasn’t able to stay here. It’s nice to know my family was helping out before we needed this place.”

Overall, Carolina is grateful to have delivered Ryder when she did and to have discovered what her family’s donations meant for others first-hand. “If it wasn’t for him being born a couple of weeks earlier the problem could have gotten worse,” said Carolina. “It was really a weight being lifted off my shoulders; the fact that if anything happened to the baby I could be there.”

Now that she knows what the House offers, she’s happy her family has a history of donating but still expressed gratitude to all donors.

We hope you’ll stay tuned for more heartwarming stories of our families. We’ll also share insights into how the House functions on a day to day basis, information regarding our wonderful collection of donors and some tips for how to get involved and volunteer.