Sylvia Robles and her husband, Edgardo, faced uncertainty when their twins, Mia and Ian, were born premature at 29 weeks. Mia was initially diagnosed with hydrocephalus and had a shunt put in place to ensure healthy brain development. Then at 6 months old she was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Scared and unsure, they found the best treatment opportunity was not close to home in Chicago, but in Coralville, Iowa, instead. They turned to the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City for support during the extensive treatment therapies.
Mia’s treatment has helped her learn to stand and walk on her own, but Mia struggled at first being so far from home. Initially, Mia was unsure of her surroundings and exhibited a great deal of stress and anxiety. This made it difficult for Sylvia, but she soon found the support she needed from staff and other guests. It did not take long for Mia to start to feel at home as well. Soon Sylvia and Mia settled into a routine and Mia found her favorite spot relaxing in the sun room.
During the second round of therapy Mia was able to settle into a routine faster and lit up when she was able to settle into the sun room again. In therapy, Mia completed her exercises, grew taller, and became confident in her standing and walking abilities. These developments have given hope to her family.
Through the emotional roller coaster she experienced as a mother, Sylvia mentioned how supported, cared for, and safe she felt at the Ronald McDonald House. “They make you feel at home…Mia feels at home.” Not having to worry about food, general supplies, or a place to stay was a big relief. She stated the only thing she had to worry about was taking care of her child.
Sylvia has advice for other parents who are in similar situations: “Although, it can be a very scary and an unclear time, don’t be afraid to reach out and embrace the Ronald McDonald House and the community that has been created.” She felt the compassion of an unconditional support system from other families, staff, and volunteers that made their time here comfortable. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois is truly a “home-away-from-home” for the Robles family.