Jolene Funderburk

Adventures with Atlanta Ronald McDonald House

“Staying at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House makes our appointments feel like adventures and gives Jolene a place to rest and be her best, joyful self,” says Jessica Funderburk, Jolene’s mom.

Jolene, 5, from Byron, Georgia, loves singing, dancing, playing in the mud, and pretending to have her own restaurant, “JoJo’s.” In March 2022, she was diagnosed with a rare and terminal neurodegenerative disease called Sanfilippo Syndrome.

“It is essentially childhood Dementia,” Jessica says. Jolene is missing an enzyme that breaks down cellular waste in the brain. As the cellular waste builds, she could lose the ability to walk, speak, feed herself, and maybe even see and hear. With a life expectancy of a young teenager, seizures and autistic tendencies are likely as Jolene grows older.

The Funderburks have spent the last year meeting with different doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, supporting Jolene through many tests and procedures and learning as much as they can about their daughter’s disease.

They stay at our House near Egleston when they come for Jolene’s appointments. “Atlanta RMHC has made attending these 8 a.m. appointments easier,” Jessica says. It would be difficult for Jolene to wake up that early and endure the two-hour car ride to Atlanta.

Jolene’s family appreciates having a safe place to rest. “I feel so cared for at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House,” Jessica says.

Our playroom is Jolene’s favorite part about our House. She loves to play dress up and play on the piano. Jolene also loves to visit with her friend, Olaf, in our kitchen area.

“Atlanta RMHC goes above and beyond to meet our needs and gives us a place to make fun memories with Jolene,” Jessica says.

Learn about more ways to help Atlanta RMHC.