Donation drive currently underway as way of saying “Thanks!”
A donation drive currently is underway for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City as a way to say thanks for the services received by the family of Luke McLanahan.
Four-month old Luke is the son of Brett and Aeriel McLanahan, of Concordia. On Feb. 14, Luke started having cold symptoms like a runny nose and a cough. Within three days, according to his mother, the cold symptoms had developed into severe congestion, along with very labored breathing.
“We called our pediatrician on Saturday night, and by listening to his breathing via the telephone, they said he needed to be taken to an emergency room immediately.”
With Luke being a newborn, the parents believed Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City would be the place best equipped to care for him. Upon arriving at the ER, he was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Since RSV is viral, you can only treat the symptoms. The hospital gave the McLanahans instructions to care for him at home along with a list of reasons to bring him back.
By the next afternoon, he had deteriorated quickly. He was unable to eat, so he started getting dehydrated and lethargic. He was very weak.
“We took him back to the ER, and this time, his stats were critical,” Aeriel said. “Within minutes of checking him in, he had a team of four nurses and two doctors working quickly to get him on high flow oxygen, start an IV, and take blood for testing. Once he was stable, he was admitted to the PICU.”
Over the next four days in the PICU, Luke had a team of respiratory therapists, doctors and nurses who worked to keep him comfortable while his body fought the virus. He received deep suctioning treatments to remove the mucous secretions caused by the virus. He eventually was placed on a feeding tube for a couple days.
“At the peak of his illness, we were up to a total of 11 tubes and monitor wires attached to him,” Luke’s mother stated. “The greatest act of kindness happened when, after being unable to hold my baby, a nurse offered to help with all the cords so I could finally hold him.”
As he improved, Luke was eventually moved to a regular room and then, by the end of the week, his parents were able to bring him home.
The McLanahans states that they weren’t sure what the hospital would do when they took Luke in the second time, but they remember they had no idea admitting him was even a possibility.
“We had nothing but the clothes on our backs and the contents of my purse,” Aeriel said. “After he was admitted to the PICU, our nurse gave us information about the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.”
RMHC has three houses adjacent to Children’s Mercy Hospital and can house up to 80 families a night in those homes. Inside Children’s Mercy, on the same floor as the PICU, they also have a family room. This includes a kitchen, seven bedrooms, and shower and laundry facilities.
“Because Luke was in the PICU, we were eligible to stay there,” McLanahan said. “It was such peace of mind to know that if something happened, we were literally just down the hall. They gave us clothes from the clothes closet, had meals available daily and provided all the personal care items we needed. When you have a sick child, having all of that support available was incredible.”
Being able to stay close to Luke without the expense of a hotel or meals lifted a huge burden off the McLanahans, who said that as soon as the hospital told them Luke was being admitted, they started worrying about how they would handle the expenses.
“But RMHC took care of it,” Aeriel said. “I really don’t know what we would have done without their generosity. Before we were even home, we knew we had to find a way to give back to them.”
Being over an hour away and having two small children, it wouldn’t be possible right now for the McLanahans to volunteer or sign up to take meals, but while looking at the “How You Can Help” tab on their website, Aeriel noticed the organization’s wish lists.
“During Luke’s hospital stay, we had almost 2,000 calls, text messages and Facebook interactions,” Luke’s mother said. “If even half of the people who reached out while he was in the hospital could donate a couple items, that would amount to a huge donation for them.”
That’s how the donation drive got its start. The McLanahans are calling it “Help Luke Say Thanks.” At this time, Concordia Bank, State Bank, and the Concordia Branch of Trails Regional Library, as well as several other businesses in town, will have donation boxes from April 8-22. The boxes have a copy of the wish list attached, or those wanting to donate can go to www.rmhckc.org. A Facebook Event page also has been created. Interested parties can go there to see a list of drop off locations, the wish list and watch progress updates.