On February 4, 2013, Tonya Vanderbosch received a call that her daughter Courtney, then 17, had been in a tragic car accident. Tonya and her husband, Dave, raced to Parkview to meet the ambulance. “When Dave opened the back door (of the ambulance) and put his hands on his head I knew it was bad…it was really bad,” Tonya remembers.
Courtney had sustained a traumatic brain injury in the crash and, at first, was given a low chance of survival. That first night in the hospital, Dave and Tonya stayed with Courtney absorbing the seriousness of her condition. In Courtney’s room there was the sound of machines working to keep her alive and the coming and going of nurses constantly checking for any changes. Tonya “slept” that night on a chair, unable to rest or relax. The next day they learned about the Ronald McDonald House.
“At first,” Tonya said, “we were just happy for the small things; having a place to take a shower and brush our teeth.” The Vanderbosch’s lived over 30 minutes away from Parkview so the Ronald McDonald House became a second home to them during their 61 day stay. Tonya said the Ronald McDonald House made her feel comfortable and it was such a relief to not have to think about getting in the vehicle and trying to get home.
“The Ronald McDonald House was a great escape from the intensity of the ICU for our younger daughter, Madison,” Dave said. “We were able to spend time with Madison in the Ronald McDonald House, playing games and making dinner, just taking a break from the reality of our situation.”
We knew a little about the Ronald McDonald House before, we even dropped some money in the canisters when we were at McDonald’s, but now we’ve lived it. The people who donate to the Ronald McDonald House really mean a great deal to the families who stay there.