Zellner Family Story

Imagine, you’re expecting a new family member, and at your 28-week gestation checkup, you’re referred to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 100 miles away from your home for specialized care. That can be a scary and overwhelming moment.

That’s where we come in. For 35 years, the Ronald McDonald House® (RMH) in Hershey has been keeping families together by providing temporary housing to out-of-town families of seriously ill children who are being treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Many families travel quite a distance to seek treatment for their seriously ill or injured child at Penn State Children’s Hospital. For children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having your family close by for love and support.

The Zellner family experienced just that. They traveled to Penn State Health for further care. Soon after arrival, the Zellner’s medical team decided that mom needed a C-section to minimize harm to the baby.

“My wife, Tracey, was 12 weeks away from the original birth date of our son, Conrad, when we decided a C-section was the best option,” David said.

Two days later, Conrad was born and immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he stayed for over 12 weeks getting stronger.

During this time, the Zellner family stayed across the street at the RMH along with their two-year-old daughter, Millie.

“Millie was a tremendous icebreaker meeting other families either in the playroom when the pet therapy dogs visited, or as I chased her through the hallways trying to sneak Hershey kisses every chance she could get,” David said. “Because of the Ronald McDonald House and the people associated, we were able to focus our time, resources, and emotions on our family and not worrying about a place to stay.”