Home for the Holidays is Ronald McDonald House for NICU Baby’s F - KOAM TV 7

Home for the Holidays is Ronald McDonald House for NICU Baby’s Families

Joplin, MO -

For families with premature babies and sick children, the Ronald McDonald house is an alternative home away from home as they spend the holidays at the hospital.

Michael Kellogg lifted tiny Lucas from his bed in the Freeman Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit. Mom Karah picked up Jeremiah. They're identical twin boys. Michael joked, "I’m still trying to figure out how I’m gonna tell them apart."

The twins were born in November at twenty-nine weeks. They’ve been in the NICU for more than fifty days.  And when they’re not here feeding and holding the twins , the couple goes back to the Ronald McDonald house across the street.
Executive director Annette Thurston explained the benefit. She said, "Being close means that they have direct impact in their baby’s care." 

At the house the entire family reunites.  The Kellogg’s have three other kids. Fifteen month old Josiah, four year old, Kyson and eighteen year old Cameron.
Michael said of the house, "It's definitely taken the stress off. We don’t live as far away as some families do, but even a thirty-minute drive back and forth would be, I mean, tremendously tough."

While they're sad not to travel to see extended family in Kansas for the holidays, Kyson proudly gave a tour of the Ronald McDonald House to show off some of the Christmas trees there including one he helped decorate. Something important to Karah. "My four year old got to help decorate a tree and that’s just something that we do every year but everything’s so divided right now, that was nice." 
And there are gifts under the trees at the house so the families can shop here for their kids rather that making time to go to stores.  Thurston hopes that takes another stresser off parents. And just another effort to make the house feel like home.

Cameron agreed, "Yeah, I like it here. It’s pretty cozy. The rooms are nice. I like how they always have food, so that’s pretty cool."

The Kellogg’s are no strangers to spending time in the hospital. Karah had to travel to Houston for surgery on the twins when they were nineteen weeks old in the womb.

She explained,
“in twin pregnancies there’s a fifteen percent chance there’s twin to twin transfusion syndrome. And our little guys are survivors of that.  Jeremiah didn’t have a bladder or stomach. He wasn’t developing. Lucas was getting everything and more.  So he had some heart reversal pumping and some enlarged kidneys from doing all the work."
Michael added, "We could have lost one or both it was just (pause) scary."

Putting the Lucas back to bed he gave a kiss and whispered, "I love you."

Karah said, "We're hoping to have them home in a couple weeks. It's been a long road but if He (God) brings you to it, He brings you through it."

Faith and a place for the rest of their family to call home have helped.
Thurston said, "When we offer that to them, it means they are stronger as a couple. That they are stronger again as that core family."

And Karah praised the house and staff. She said, “They've added warmth to the whole situation."


     The Kelloggs are among five families currently staying at the Ronald McDonald house. With four more on the waiting list, it’s likely to be full at Christmas and the New Year.

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