16 Nov Meet the Carnegie Family
Several years ago, the Carnegie Family found themselves in need of a place to stay while their infant son fought for his life. The Ronald McDonald House was there for them with open hearts and open doors and now they donate their time each year in memory of their infant son.
Jonathan Carnegie was born in his hometown of Atlanta in a whirlwind of activity culminating in an emergency C –section. After many tests and a few days on a ventilator, Jonathan’s parents learned the news that Jonathan’s lungs could not function on their own; he needed a lung transplant to survive. The only hospital with options for a transplant for their newborn baby was in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I remember sitting down and not knowing what to do,” Faith Ann, Jonathan’s mom said. “Where do we stay? We don’t know anyone in Cincinnati…”
But thankfully, that was when the Carnegie family learned about the Ronald McDonald House.
“It was a true blessing to come home to the Ronald McDonald House after long days spent at the hospital… and that’s what I called it- my home,” Faith Ann said. “Food was prepared, volunteers were there smiling. I remember one Saturday morning in particular, I woke up and could smell breakfast cooking and felt in my heart that everything was going to be okay.”
The Carnegie family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati for three months. After four months spent on the ventilator sustaining his fragile lungs, Jonathan passed away before he was able to receive a lung transplant.
“My son passed away in October. We were devastated but I remember thinking about how the Ronald McDonald House took such good care of us and how I had to do something in return. That very month we made breakfast for the families here in our hometown at the Atlanta House near Egleston,” Faith Ann shared.
The Carnegie family comes back to our House near Egleston each fall to volunteer in honor and memory of baby Johnathan. They start by cleaning toys. Since Faith Ann was unable to hold her infant son during his hospital stay, she would watch other children and families playing in the playroom during her stay at the Cincinnati House. She saw volunteers cleaning the toys there and was struck by what a vital job that was, especially for kids like her son who were waiting for transplants or who had just received them.
“I remember thinking, ‘Thank God for the people who clean the toys!’” said Faith Ann.
This year, the Carnegie family also focused on the Moms of our House. The Carnegie’s have a son, Jude, who just celebrated his first birthday. Instead of asking for gifts for Jude, the Carnegie’s asked their family and friends to buy donations for mom’s staying at our Houses. They brought bags filled with essential items like hand sanitizer, nail polish, lipstick, make-up and body-wash so that parents didn’t have to worry about taking care of themselves while also being their for their sick child.
“The Ronald McDonald House is not just a House, it’s a home. It was my place that I came back to in order to be refreshed and tackle another day,” the Carnegies said.
For families like the Carnegies, the Ronald McDonald House was their home away from home. Our House and our volunteers provide refuge, security and support after longs days. We thank our volunteers, like the Carnegie Family, for sustaining our mission and keeping families close when they need it most.