The Dryden Family and RMHC Richmond

Richmond native, Lieutenant Commander Abigail Dryden (Abi), is a Surface Warfare Officer for the United States Navy Reserve currently serving on active duty at the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Command in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 2005, Abi deployed onboard the U.S.S. GUNSTON HALL (LSD 44), an amphibious warship named for the estate of Virginia-based, American Revolutionary, George Mason.

As an officer on board GUNSTON HALL, Abi completed a three-month civic and humanitarian deployment in Western Africa, a seven-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf and on the Eastern Coast of Africa combating international piracy operations, and finished her active duty time with the Strategic Communications branch of United States Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

On December 18, 2017, Abi was also a wife to fellow Navy Officer Corbin — who she’d met at the Naval Academy — and the mother of Ann Greer (age 4), Griff (age 3), Gill (age 2) and Lissy (age 3 months).

It was on December 18, 2017 that Lissy was diagnosed with RSV pneumonia and admitted for care at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Lissy was intubated: sedated with a tube and ventilator.  A nurse gave a key to Abi and told her that there was a room upstairs where families could take breaks.

Over the next two weeks, leading up to and passing through the Christmas holiday, Abi spent every day and night in the pediatric intensive care unit and RMHC Richmond Family Sleep Room.

“The Family Sleep Room at St. Mary’s gave me a place to take a hot shower, a place to brush my teeth, a bed where I could sleep for 4-5 hours a night knowing my baby was just downstairs,” Abi explained.

Corbin stayed in the room throughout the two weeks with Abi; and Ann Greer, Griff and Gill all visited. “RMHC Richmond provided food and comforts, I think that’s how the kids thought about the hospital — despite everything that was going on, the hospital was ‘the place where we can get snacks and treats,” Abi added.

Lissy returned home to spend 2018 with her family. And today, the Drydens remain part of the RMHC Richmond family as donors and advocates.

“In the past I’d often drop coins in the boxes at McDonalds, but I never really thought about it,” Abi shared. “I never realized how important those donations were, or imagined that we would need that kind of help some day. Having a Family Sleep Room gave me the strength I needed. I honestly do not think I would have survived without RMHC Richmond.”