Bringing Families Together and Keeping Them Close

The illness of a child can often tear a family apart; the stress for some being too difficult to bear, but for Cory Poling and Lori Irwin, it only brought their family closer together. When their daughter, Collins Poling, was two years old, Cory and Lori separated. Eventually, Cory moved up to Toledo, Ohio and Collins split her time living there with her father and in Decatur, Indiana with her mother. In late July 2016, Collins suffered her first grand mal seizure and was taken to a hospital in Toledo. She stayed at the hospital for 11 days while the doctors tried to figure out how to stop the seizures. When the seizures stopped, she was sent back to Decatur with her mother, while continuing to see a neurologist in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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For almost a year and a half, things seemed to be getting back to normal; while the doctors were unsure of the cause of Collins’ seizures, she hadn’t suffered any recent attacks. However, that changed on December 22, 2017 when Collins had her second grand mal seizure. She was taken to the hospital in Fort Wayne and was tested to try to find the cause of her attack. After an extensive 24 hour EEG, the seizures continued but their cause was still unknown. The family was eventually referred to the Cleveland Clinic.

It was a trying situation for Cory and Lori, having to come up to Cleveland to try to help their daughter, while not having any real information about the situation. When they contacted the Cleveland Clinic to make their appointments, they were also looking for a place to stay, and were referred to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Cory and Lori arrived at the Ronald McDonald House in mid-March and stayed for 12 days. While their daughter was benefiting from the care at the Cleveland Clinic, Cory and Lori benefited from the support system they had at the House. They were able to talk to volunteers, employees, and other families that had a child going through similar situations.

It is a support to hear their story, to know that they’re going through the same things, it helps a lot.
— Lori Irwin

Collins, along with her parents and grandparents, Barry and Judy Poling, returned to the House twice after that, once in May and again in June. On May 4th, it was discovered that Collins had a lesion in one of the grooves (sulci) of her brain, on a part that had not properly formed while she was in the womb. When they returned in June, Collins had the operation to remove the lesion.

The Polings said that staying at the Ronald McDonald House put their minds at ease; from Grandpa Barry taking naps in the comfort of one of the Family Rooms in the hospital, to Cory, Lori, and Collins attending Cavs games, to meals provided to families by volunteers, the House was a major source of support. The House offered the whole family a way to relax and deal with their situation together. While this was a difficult situation for all involved, Collins’ family obviously grew closer. “Through all this, we’ve [Lori and I] reunited,” said Cory Poling. As a family, Collins, Cory, and Lori are moving on from one chapter in their life to a much happier one.

Would you like to help make a difference in the lives of the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House? Just $20 helps to cover the cost for a family to stay the night at the House. Click the button below to donate today.