Ethan’s Story

When the Karpaiya family ran into feeding difficulties with their 5-year-old son, Ethan, they turned to a unique program located in Richmond for help. The daily, seven-week long program at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU was a two-hour drive from their home in Lorton, VA. Ethan’s twin brother, Aiden, was enrolled in school, leaving the family troubled trying to figure out how to manage the daily commute.

At the recommendation of a hospital employee, the family connected with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond. The House located on Monument Avenue, provided overnight accommodations for the Karpaiya family just down the street from Ethan’s program. Mom and dad were able to switch off each taking turns staying with Ethan so that they could learn and assist with his feeding therapies and with Aiden so that he could remain in school at home.

“The House was so comfortable and accommodating. We received all-around hospitality every day and it was amazing. Not having to pay for a hotel room or worry about traffic meant we could concentrate on why our son is actually here in Richmond,” says Ethan’s mom, Brenda.

The Karpaiya family cited the home-cooked meals prepared by volunteers as one of their favorite things about staying at the Ronald McDonald House. “After a long day at the hospital, whether it was good or bad, it was comforting to know we didn’t have to worry about making dinner or paying to dine-out. The volunteers and meals were a huge help.”

Ethan successfully completed his feeding therapy program and the Karpaiya family is back to their normal routine in Lorton. When reflecting on their experience in Richmond they shared, “Thank you, thank you so much for everything. RMHC Richmond turned an unexpected thing into something much less stressful. We felt right at home and you were there to help us in every way possible.”