Ballard family at the beach

Meet the Ballard Family

At 35-weeks pregnant, Renae Ballard and her husband Ben were given life-changing news: their unborn son, Brantley David Ballard, would be born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  This rare heart condition typically requires three major open-heart surgeries over the course of the child’s life, the first being immediately after the child is born.  The Ballard’s doctors recommended Renae give birth at Northside Hospital in Atlanta allowing them to be close to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where Brantley would soon receive care.  Nearly 300 miles from home, the Ballards knew they would need a place to lay their heads at night and were relieved when they heard about the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House. 

Brantley-BallardOn May 13, 2015 Brantley was born and instantly transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  At one week old, he underwent his first open heart surgery; however, the procedure was unsuccessful. Brantley would need a second surgery and would need to stay in the hospital in the meantime.

With their newborn son in critical condition, the Ballards found comfort being steps away from the hospital at their “home-away-from-home, the Ronald McDonald House. Although their time at the House was an emotional rollercoaster, Ben could not be more thankful for the security and support his family received.

“As a father, I think about all of the fathers that can’t be here with their families,” Ben described. “It’s so nice to know that my family has a safe place to stay outside of the hospital and a hot meal each night.”

During the Ballard family’s stay at the House, they formed special friendships with other families fighting similar battles. They supported and encouraged each other through the difficult times. Ben simply stated, “this place will impact your life forever.”

Today, the Ballards are doing well. Brantley has been off the feeding tube for a month now. With his next surgery planned for October 15th, the Ballards are looking forward to returning to their “home-away-from-home at the Ronald McDonald House. ARMHC has been keeping families close for 36 years. Please help us continue to support families like the Ballards by making a gift today. 

Follow Brantley’s journey on Facebook.