Ronald McDonald Family Room Provides Extra Support for Franklin Family after Leukemia Diagnosis

DAYTON, Ohio (RMHC Dayton) – The day a baby is born is forever etched into a mom’s memory. For Danielle Stutzman, another day is also forever etched into her memory – August 17, 2021. That’s the day her 2-year-old daughter, Torrun, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Torrun was born with Down Syndrome. Children with Down Syndrome have a higher incidence of leukemia than the general population. The cancer was caught during routine bloodwork.

“She is doing treatment here [at Dayton Children’s Hospital],” said Danielle. “It’s six treatments all together and we’re finishing up the last one now.”

Immediately after diagnosis, nurses told Danielle about the Ronald McDonald Family Room (RMFR). The RMFR is specifically designed for families who don’t need overnight accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House but still need support during their healthcare journey. The RMFR provides a place for families to rest and regroup without having to leave the hospital.

“It kind of feels like you can, sigh of relief, knowing that you’re going to be here for a long period of time and that there’s another option than just your hospital room,” said Danielle.

“It is definitely a fill in the gap. Just knowing we’re right across the floor, not more than five minutes away from our daughter is super helpful.

“It relieves so much of the mental stress that comes along with having a child with a cancer diagnosis and the treatment that comes along with that.”

Danielle said she’s used the RMFR every day of their stay with the laundry room being her first stop. Other amenities include light meals, coffee, nap pods, workstations and lounge areas, among others.

“Knowing that we can stay close and that they can call us if there’s a problem if we are over here and we can be back to her in less than five minutes, that is very comforting,” she said.

“It relieves so much anxiety and stress knowing that she’s taken care of and that we can be taken care of too.”

She recommends all families facing an in-patient stay visit the RMFR. Guardians, parents, grandparents or brothers and sisters of the patient can use the RMFR at no cost to them. It’s located on the fourth floor via the yellow elevators.

“If we wouldn’t have had these things here, it would have required my husband and I to have to problem-solve a lot more and that’s just not something we have the mental space for not with having to make all of the other decisions we have to make on behalf of our daughter,” Danielle said.

Danielle said she will be forever grateful for the staff and donors who make the RMFR possible.

“Even though it’s still high-stress and I have high anxiety in the situation, the things that are offered here have helped me have a place for some self-care, even if that’s just having a cup of coffee and a cookie, or just some place to breathe without having to be ‘on’ as a caregiver.”