People tend to gravitate toward those who display an unwavering sense of optimism and hope in times of difficulty and uncertainty. These characteristic of hope and optimism perfectly describe Sidney Taylor, who meets each day with a smile and positive attitude. It’s why, despite her various medical conditions, people find themselves pulled to her story and find courage in her journey.
Sidney and her mother Tonya first came to Cleveland from their home in West Virginia after Sidney started coughing blood from her lungs. Sidney and her family visited several hospitals for treatment but was referred to a pulmonologist in Cleveland. After arriving in Cleveland, Sidney began to have gastrointestinal problems, leading her to seek additional treatment from gastroenterologists. Needing a place to stay due to the prolonged nature of Sidney’s rare condition and treatment for Vascular Ehler’s Danlos, her family reached out to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. The House had a room available and welcomed Sidney and her family with open arms.
Since staying at the Ronald McDonald House, Sidney has formed friendships with many of the other families, volunteers, and staff at the House. She has become best friends with Badour, a girl from Kuwait, who she looks forward to seeing each time she comes back to Cleveland. Sidney and her mom have also found friendship in fellow House guests Alyssa, Rob, and their daughter Katie. Ronald McDonald House security guards, Dwight and Stacey, not only keep the House safe, but Sidney enjoys seeking their advice when times get especially tough.
During her visits, Sidney and her family have been able to meet people from all over the world and have gotten to experience their culture and language in the process. Badour, who speaks Arabic, has taught Sidney basic communication skills so that she can speak to other guests in Arabic. What makes the House a home? Interactions and relationships with families from different backgrounds who are experiencing similar circumstances and lending their support. “The House is a melting pot mixed with people from all over the world travel to Cleveland with their children who are in need of medical attention," says Sidney.
While staying at the House earlier this year, Sidney was surprised with Fuji, an 80 lb. Akita service dog who looks after her and is trained to detect seizures, open doors, and fetch water. Fuji and Sidney have become fast friends, rarely leaving each other’s side. More recently Sidney and the House were the beneficiary of a large donation of Disney themed Duck Tape. Sidney, who requires an IV pole for tube feeding, fluid bags, and TPN bags, was looking for a unique way to decorate her pole and make it more fun. Noticing the many of the rolls, Sidney jumped at the opportunity to decorate her pole with one of her favorite characters.