A'Riah Smith

Atlanta RMHC: An Angel for A’Riah’s Family

“Housing, food, basically everything we need is being provided for us here at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House. It’s like a hotel but even better,” says Tkeyah Williams, mom to A’Riah Smith.

A’Riah, 4, from Midway, Georgia, was born with complex congenital heart disease and Heterotaxy Syndrome- a rare condition where many organs in the chest and abdomen are formed abnormally, in the wrong position, or even missing.

In A’Riah’s case, her organs were abnormal and in the wrong position with only half of her heart functioning properly. At a week old, she had a Glenn Procedure, her first of many heart surgeries. A couple months later, A’Riah had a shunt surgery.

In March, A’Riah was admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for what was supposed to be her last surgery. She received a Fontan surgery, but it did not go as planned and led to her heart pumping incorrectly.

After the surgery, A’Riah received a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) which is used to support heart function and blood flow for people with weak or failing hearts. “She named the VAD Charlie,” Tkeyah says.

Currently, A’Riah is on the heart transplant list. She will remain in the hospital until she is able to get a new heart or until her heart starts working correctly.

Tkeyah and A’Riah’s grandmother are staying at our House near Egleston while A’Riah awaits the transplant. “We live 4 hours away, so Atlanta RMHC has helped our family tremendously,” Tkeyah says.

When A’Riah visits our House, she loves to watch movies and play doctor in the playroom. Tkeyah appreciates the financial relief that staying at the House provides, and she likes having a safe and comfortable place to stay that is close to the hospital.

“I truly believe Atlanta RMHC was God’s way of making treatment for A’Riah possible,” says Tkeyah.

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