3,709 miles. This is the distance that separates the Blondet/Villacorta family from their home in Peru and the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. The family came to Ohio after learning that their son Adrian would need two heart surgeries immediately following his birth. Upon receiving the news, Adrian’s parents, Miguel and Rosa, scheduled Adrian’s surgeries at a hospital in Cleveland. It was during this initial conversation with the hospital that the family was told about the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. They learned that staying there would allow them to remain close to the hospital and Adrian after he was born. With the operations set, Miguel and Rosa, along with their son Vincente and Miguel’s mother Amalia, began their journey to Cleveland.
Soon after arriving, Rosa gave birth to Adrian. Following Adrian’s delivery, doctors informed the family that his first surgery was no longer needed; however, the second surgery was still a necessity to fix the problem with Adrian’s heart. While relieved, the family is currently waiting for Adrian to get big enough over the next four months for the doctors to be able to perform the procedure. During that time, Miguel, Rosa, Vincente, and Amalia have made the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland their "home away from home." During their stay, the family has developed friendships with many of the volunteers, staff, and families staying at the House. Volunteers Pat and Bobbe and Guest Services Coordinator Molly have become some of Amalia’s best friends.
As the family continues their stay in Cleveland, grandmother Amalia has returned home in Lima, Peru to continue her work as a holistic therapist. Although Amalia is now thousands of miles away, the experience she had while in Cleveland inspired her to pay it forward to families who are going through similar circumstances. Since returning home, Amalia has become a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of Peru. There Amalia has put her work and cooking skills to good use by providing support and meals to the many families that the House serves.
When asked what made her want to become a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House of Peru, Amalia said, “THANKFULNESS!!!” While Amalia let it be known that conditions in Lima are much different, she was grateful for the generosity and support that the community provides so that the House can continue to be a home for families as they care for their children...just as it has been for hers in Cleveland.