Elan B. is a bright, 11-year-old boy who is an extraordinary athlete with a passion for basketball, flag football and soccer. Like most boys his age, he loves playing video games, hanging out with friends and spending time with his family.
Just before Father’s Day, Elan awoke with a headache and began to vomit. His parents noticed a slight bulge on the left side of Elan’s abdomen. Elan was given over the counter medicine which allowed his nausea and bulge to subside. Kept under close supervision, his parents noticed a significant difference in the tenderness between his left and right abdomen.
Over the next few weeks, Elan resumed normal activities and never complained of feeling ill. Then, on the morning of Wednesday, July 15, the symptoms returned and by that evening, his parents noticed the bulge on Elan’s abdomen had returned and was now much larger.
The following morning after hearing about Elan’s reoccurring symptoms, his pediatrician immediately ordered an X-ray and CT scan.
On Friday, July 17, Elan’s life would change forever. Elan and his parents met with the pediatric oncology team at a local hospital in their hometown of Pensacola, FL. Scans revealed the bulge on Elan’s abdomen was a tumor the size of a cantaloupe. Emergency surgery was immediately scheduled for Monday, July 20 in Jacksonville, FL to remove the tumor and during surgery, the left kidney was also removed.
Following surgery, Elan and his mother stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for two weeks as he underwent daily radiation treatments at a nearby hospital just steps away from our House. Being close to medical care was beneficial because when Elan first arrived to our House, he was so ill he could barely walk through our doors. Here at our House, once he was able to build up his strength, Elan and his mom spent time enjoying our rooftop garden, bird tower and meals prepared by our Chef.
We are happy to share that Elan is now back at home, continuing treatment and furthering his education via virtual learning. Elan is a great example of the strength and resolve of so many children and families we serve each year.
We will always remember 2020 as being an unprecedented year for us all as coronavirus came into our lives. As this global pandemic evolved, our Ronald McDonald House committed ourselves to safeguarding our families, staff and volunteers from the spread of Covid-19 by implementing CDC Protocols yet delivering our mission with love, compassion and security. Our families told us they felt safe and cared for by the measures we were taking. They knew we were their safe “home away from home”.
It was with the support of our donors, hospitals, colleagues and friends that this transformation of delivering our communal mission was able to take place. But the financial support provided by our fundraising events was strongly impacted. And now, during this season of giving through our Annual Appeal we ask you to please generously support our mission so that our Ronald McDonald House will continue to be a beacon of hope in our pediatric care community for all children, like Elan, who need a safe and secure place to call home.