Rylee Dowdy with his brother

Atlanta RMHC Helps to Make Heart Transplant Journey Less Stressful for Dowdy Family

Rylee Dowdy in the hospital after his surgery.

Rylee Dowdy plays games in the hospital after his surgery.

“Our journey would be more difficult without the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House,” says Erica Dowdy, mom to Rylee, age 11.

Rylee, from Athens, Georgia, went into heart failure shortly before his 11th birthday. His sudden illness was a big surprise to his family because he was such a healthy and happy young boy.

He had surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The surgery aimed to keep Rylee’s heart pumping while he awaited a heart transplant.

After the surgery, Rylee’s family stayed in our Transplant Suite at our House near Egleston. “With the help of Atlanta RMHC, we have not had to worry about food, transportation, or a place to sleep,” Erica says.

Erica appreciates having her own space and the privacy the Transplant Suite provides, and Rylee loves our kind and caring staff.

“I wish everyone knew how helpful, caring, and nonjudgmental the people are at Atlanta RMHC,” Erica says.

On April 17, Rylee received his new heart. He is recovering well and will begin day therapy soon. Rylee is the youngest of four and loves dinosaurs, the Mario Brothers, video games, and learning about social studies.

“Rylee loves it here at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House,” Erica says.