Annika’s Story

The Oldham family found Richmond Hope Therapy and knew it would be perfect for their four and a half year old daughter, Annika, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. The only problem was the center was located in Richmond, VA, an almost ten-hour drive from their home in Hendersonville, TN. “Finding the Ronald McDonald House in Richmond felt like a financial blessing not having to pay for a place to stay for two weeks on top of paying for Annika’s therapy,” says Annika’s mom, Jessica.

Annika’s mom and grandparents took turns staying at the House along with Annika’s twin sister, Elliana. “It was so much better than a hotel and not being stuck in one room all the time. We didn’t feel cooped up and the girls loved the playroom. The location was beautiful and felt homey, not like a hospital.”

Each night at the House, a different group of volunteers came to prepare a home-cooked dinner for all of the guests to enjoy. The Oldham family sited these dinners as one of their favorite things about the house. “It was so helpful to not have to stress about dinner. We were able to enjoy meals with families who were going through different medical journeys, but similar. We all understood what each other were going through.”

“Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond opened my eyes to a world I wasn’t familiar with. It taught my daughter empathy. I overheard Annika talking with another child at the House who had to have surgery and Annika’s response was, “aw, I’m so sorry you have to go through that.” I was so touched by this.”

Annika had a successful two-week therapy at Richmond Hope Therapy and the Oldham family was able to return home to Hendersonville to enjoy summer. The family plans to volunteer at their local Ronald McDonald House and make meals to show their gratitude.