Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Antonio


Family Stories

We would like to share some stories from our "families." We hope they help you understand better what we do and why we do it.

Madelyn Hart's Story

My name is Madelyn Hart, I was born on August 28, 2006, and live in Arlington, Texas with my mommy and daddy.  Doctors told my mommy and daddy I have coronal craniosyntosis which means that the sutures in my skull fused prematurely leaving no room for my brain to grow.

Mommy and daddy found a doctor in San Antonio who could fix my skull with a small surgery and a plastic helmet to shape my head so with my mimi we went to San Antonio where we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House a few blocks from the hospital for eight days while I had surgery and was fitted for a helmet.

We all liked it at the House where we met new friends, mommy and mimi could cook for us, and we could watch movies and play games.  I didn't like my new helmet at first but after a few days I didn't even notice it any more.

When we got home some people would stare at me so mommy put stickers on my helmet, and when I outgrew the first one we went back to the Ronald McDonald House while I was fitted with a new one.  My sister put stickers on it too.  So far I have outgrown four helmets, and my head looks better each time.

My friends at the House aren't rude and don't stare, but they always like to see how mommy has decorated my helmet.



Rene's Story

My name is Rene Sierra. I was born in September 2000 and live in Victoria, Texas with my mommy and daddy. In 2005 doctors discovered I had a brain tumor and I had surgery in June 2005.

My grandparents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House while my mommy and daddy stayed with me at the hospital. When I started doing better my mommy and daddy would go to the House to eat, shower and rest a little and then hurry back to the hospital to be with me. It sure was nice having them around all the time since I was not feeling too good. I got to go home 13 days later in a wheelchair. My family and I really liked staying at the House because we were close to the doctors, had a nice room and had the support from other families at the House with children in the hospital. My mommy and grandma loved the big kitchen where they could cook and visit with other moms. We loved all the activities going on in the House.

On my 5th birthday I was staying at the House and the staff had a birthday party for me. It was a great party because there were gifts for everyone.

We returned to San Antonio several times for my therapy and always stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. The staff and my other friends have cheered me on as I progressed from a wheelchair to a walker to walking on my own.

We are very grateful for this House where we feel safe and loved.

Alyssa's Story

Hello. My name is Alyssa Keanna Zamago, I am 10 months old, and I live with my mommy, daddy, and big sister in Eagle Pass, Texas. I was too eager to see Christmas and was born too soon on December 14, 2006. I was not due until the last week of February 2007 so they called me a premature baby. That’s when I had to stay in a special nursery at the University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.


After that happened my parents started to get worried about how they would stay close to me and my big sister who was still in Eagle Pass with family members. As my mommy was being discharged from the hospital a wonderful nurse mentioned Ronald McDonald House just down the street from the hospital. Afraid of asking for help they arrived at the House and were greeted with a big smile that made them feel very welcome. Since they checked in on December 19 the House was full of Christmas trees and all decorated for my first Christmas.

I was very happy to have my family close by and especially knowing that my big sister Ashley was having a great time with the rest of the children at the House. Sometimes my family would go home to Eagle Pass for a few days but I knew they were thinking about me because my mommy would call the hospital all the time. I knew they would be back soon.

On Christmas morning Santa Claus left awesome gifts at the Ronald McDonald House for my whole family and me. I don’t know what he looks like but I hope to find out on my second Christmas. After the New Year we got to go home to Eagle Pass. Even though I never saw the House my family told me how much they liked staying at such a clean, comfortable, and safe place. And of course mommy took lots of nice pictures of the House for my scrapbook. I would like to thank all the staff, charities, and all the wonderful people who make the Ronald McDonald House possible.