The Wallace Family
In October 2013, Michelle and Randy Wallace found out they were expecting their first child.
Their eight and 12-week check-ups brought nothing but good news, so Michelle and Randy were really excited for their upcoming 19-week check-up, during which they would find out the gender of their baby.
The news that they were having a girl was received with so much happiness. However, that happiness faded as the technician performing the exam left the room to get a maternal-fetal doctor.
Upon further examination, they were told that their daughter has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. They were given a bleak outlook for the remainder of their pregnancy and their daughter’s quality of life following birth.
Looking for hope, the Wallaces sought after additional medical opinions, researched the syndrome and tried to determine the best choices they could make for their unborn daughter. Finally, an echocardiogram exam at Penn State Children’s Hospital yielded some good news.
As if the Wallace family wasn’t already dealing with enough, they found out in May 2014 that their daughter also had a defect of her pulmonary veins called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return and was advised that their daughter may not make it through the hurdles ahead. But the Wallaces persisted and advocated the best they could for their daughter.
On July 10, 2014, their daughter Molli Faith was born. She was immediately ventilated and taken into the NICU at Penn State Children’s Hospital, where three days later she underwent open heart surgery. During this time, the doctors and nurses encouraged the Wallaces to seek out the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Hershey as a resource during their time of need.
When they called the RMH in Hershey to reserve a room after Molli Faith’s surgery, Michelle said they were “greeted with open arms”.
“If it wouldn’t have been for the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey,” Michelle said. “I don’t know what we would’ve done.”
The Wallaces checked into the RMH in Hershey while their daughter was in surgery and 14 hours later, Molli Faith came out of surgery and was stable. For the first time in months, the Wallaces started to see “a glimpse of hope” for their daughter.
Following surgery, it took Molli Faith two and a half weeks to come off of the ventilator, but she made it.
“After Molli Faith came out of surgery, Randy and I would flip-flop visiting time with Molli Faith and recharging at the RMH in Hershey with meals and a hot shower,” Michelle said. “We weren’t sure how long we were going to stay at the House but it was so nice not to have to worry about traveling, meals, having a place to stay or even having a friendly face to talk to.”
The Wallaces stayed at the RMH in Hershey for the first 90 days after their daughter’s birth.
As she grew, Molli Faith would have to undergo two major heart surgeries from massive heart failure.
“The RMH in Hershey made all the difference in the world,” Michelle said. “We lived over an hour and a half away and while my husband still worked to help sustain our family, the RMH in Hershey was our saving grace.”
Michelle especially fell in love with the Pet Therapy Program that RMHC of Central PA offers for their families, as her family has dogs and are animal lovers.
“I would look forward to 6:00 PM every day,” Michelle said. “The pet therapy helped me get through the day when things seemed grim. I can’t thank those pets and their owners enough for their support.”
The Wallace Family stayed at the RMH in Hershey for over 19 months throughout the last four years.
As a recipient of service, they also enjoy giving back to the families through the volunteer Guest Chef Program and by holding 3rd party fundraisers to benefit RMHC of Central PA.
“I wish there were more people like the volunteers and donors of RMHC of Central PA in the world,” Michelle said. “The world would be a better place. Thank you for helping us during the darkest times of our lives.”
Molli Faith is now almost five years old and is in pre-kindergarten. According to Michelle, “Molli Faith is stable but lives with moderate heart failure. She never lets that get her down – she is as spunky and loving as ever.”