Wallace Family Story
During the month of October 2013, Michelle and Randy Wallace became pregnant with their first child. It started out like any normal pregnancy with healthy 8-week and 12-week checkups at their doctor’s office.
When returning to the doctor for their 19-week checkup, Michelle and Randy were excited to finally find out the sex of their baby.
“It’s a girl,” the technician said.
A few moments of joy passed and the technician suspiciously continued using the ultrasound machine to examine their baby. The Wallace’s started to become worried, when the technician went to grab the Maternal Fetal Doctor available for a second opinion on her reservations.
After that moment, their lives changed forever.
“Your daughter has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome,” the doctor said. “She will most likely not make it through this pregnancy or have the quality of life that she deserves, if you keep her.”
But the Wallace’s were not willing to give up that easily. They sought after additional medical opinions, researched the syndrome and finally heard back good news when traveling to Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey for an initial echo exam.
In May 2014, they were hit with another speedbump when they found out that their daughter also has Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (defect of pulmonary veins) and were told, “we don’t think your daughter is going to make it through all of these hurdles.”
Yet again, the Wallace’s were not willing to give up.
And on July 10th, 2014, their daughter Molli Faith was born. She was immediately ventilated and admitted into the NICU of Penn State Children’s Hospital, where 3 days later she underwent open heart surgery.
During this time, the doctors and nurses were encouraging the Wallace’s to seek out Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central PA as a resource during their time of need.
They called the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey (RMH) and reserved a room for after Molli’s surgery. Michelle said they were “greeted with open arms” when visiting the house for the first time.
“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 Wallace’s checked into the RMH while their daughter was in surgery and 14 hours later, Molli Faith came out of surgery and was finally stable. For the first time in months, the Wallace’s started to see “a glimpse of hope” for their daughter.
It took Molli 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 and recharging over at the Ronald McDonald House 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 Wallace’s stayed at the RMH in Hershey originally for the first 90 days after their daughter’s birth. During this time, Molli Faith had to undergo two major heart surgeries and had 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 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 dogs 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 they have used the services first-hand, they also enjoy giving back to the families in the Guest Chef volunteer program and holding 3rd party fundraisers to benefit the organization.
“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 four and a half years old and is in pre-kindergarten in Parkland, Maryland.
“Molli is stable, but lives with moderate heart failure,” Michelle said. “But she never lets that get her down – she is as spunky and loving as ever.”