The Snider Family
In 2018, the Snider Family was expecting their second child. At twenty weeks pregnant, they learned their baby had a congenital heart defect (CHD), which is a type of birth defect that can affect the structure and function of a baby’s heart. This came as no surprise as his father, Jeremy, also has CHD.
“Upon learning this news, we were immediately referred to the team at Penn State Hershey Medical Center,” Gabby said. Once at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, the Snider Family was scheduled for a C-section delivery on November 8, 2018.
According to Gabby, it was then that they were informed of all the different services Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central PA offered to families. Because they lived in Chambersburg, PA, about an hour away from the hospital, they were the perfect fit for the Ronald McDonald House.
“We were offered a room at the Ronald McDonald House the night before delivery,” Gabby said. “The kind team at the Ronald McDonald House even kept our room reserved for a week post-delivery just in case Noah would require surgery after birth— thankfully, that was not necessary.”
Unfortunately, two years later, Noah’s family would learn that he needed surgery—during the height of the pandemic.
Because visitation rules at the hospital were impacted during the pandemic, Gabby and Jeremy were unable to stay with Noah at the same time. “Naturally, our first thought was to contact the Ronald McDonald House to try to reserve a room,” Gabby said.
In June 2020, due to pandemic restrictions, RMH was only able to admit families every two weeks for the health and safety of the guest families and staff. To continue to help families like the Snider Family, RMH offered stays at nearby hotels. “Because Noah’s surgery could not be delayed, panic set in,” Gabby said.
“That’s when we received a call from the Ronald McDonald House offering us hotel accommodations for our entire length of stay in Hershey. Emotions ran HIGH, but we could at least breathe a sigh of relief knowing we had a place to stay.”
Throughout the pandemic, RMHC-CP has continued to keep families together at the RMH and through hotel stays.
Noah had his open heart surgery on June 30, 2020. Being able to stay nearby their young child during a serious procedure, free of charge, was a relief to the Snider Family.
“The hotel room right down the road from the hospital became a sanctuary for two physically and emotionally exhausted parents taking shifts to be with their heart warrior,” Gabby said.
Thankfully, Noah’s surgery went smoothly, and he and his family were able to return home on July 5, 2020.
“Leaving the hospital, my husband and I reflected on how grateful we were,” Gabby said. “First, for our strong baby boy who overcame a very difficult surgery, and second, for the support and generosity of the Ronald McDonald House.”
Following his surgery, he had a non-invasive procedure in September 2020. Today, Noah is doing very well.
“Noah is our ‘tough guy.’ You’ll often find him flying around the house or playground free of inhibitions or limitations. His resiliency astounds us every day!”
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