Some Fun Can Help Heal and Forget A Little
It's been a long 60 days for five-year-old Sara, but last Monday night, it made up for it. Earlier in the day, her mom Amanda surprised her with tickets to the American Idol Concert at Sleep Train Arena, which had been donated to the Sacramento Ronald McDonald House that morning by Chris Millard of Roseville. Sara had never been to a concert and she enjoyed every minute of it by dancing during the entire performance, enjoying some of the food that she doesn't get to eat often, including buttery popcorn and relishing the night with a new friend she met while staying at the House; but most importantly, she saw her young mother smile and forget why they were so far away from home.
Amanda Vanocker-Rodriguez, along with her family - her husband Eric, sons Damian and Jordan, and daughter Sara - are temporarily living at the Sacramento Ronald McDonald house since their fourth child Khiah was rushed from an Oroville area hospital to UC Davis Medical Center due to complications at birth. After days of testing, Khiah was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system.
Little baby Khiah has been plugged in to machines that feed her and help her discard of waste since she was born and has had two major surgeries to relieve the blockage in her intestines. Amanda has been faithfully going to the hospital every three-and-a-half to four hours to provide nourishment and reassure her she's going to be ok. "As soon as we were told the diagnosis, my husband and I began researching the disease and are determined to make her life as normal as possible" said Amanda... she continued, "I just feel horrible that my baby girl has not seen the light of day, because all she knows is the hospital room, tubes and pain. I can't wait to take her home to be with her brothers and sister."
It was eleven at night when the American Idol Concert was wrapping up, but instead of thinking of going to sleep and resting after a night of fun, Amanda and Sara went straight to the hospital to visit baby Khiah and share their latest adventure. "It was a day of fun to help us forget all the stress we've gone through the last couple of months, we're so grateful to be staying here and for this amazing gift. We would've never been able to go to the concert if it wasn't for the Sacramento Ronald McDonald House, seeing Sara so happy was priceless," added Amanda.
Khiah has shown improvements, but the hospital has not given the Vanocker-Rodriguez family a date when they can take her home. In the meantime, the family is together and they're living one day at a time in a place they are now calling 'home'. Amanda and Eric are also arming themselves with information about Cystic Fibrosis and preparing themselves on the daily care Khiah will require. They are happy she will be able to attend school, work and have a better quality of life than people with this disease had in previous decades.