Meet the Thomas Family
In Loving Memory of Makiya Thomas
July 26, 2012 – October 22, 2013
74 Days. — As of October 11, that is how long Brittany Thomas and her daughter Makenna have called the Ronald McDonald House near Egleston their “home-away-from-home.” However, Makenna has a twin sister, Makiya. Makiya requires constant care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and with the family’s home in Columbus, Georgia, Brittany and Makenna needed a place to stay to be near her.
Brittany’s experience as a new mom has been unique; she was pregnant when she discovered that Makiya would be born with a congenital heart defect. Now at only 15-months old, Makiya has endured two open heart surgeries. Due to the severity of her heart condition, Makiya will need a new heart very soon. Until that day comes, Brittany and Makenna will live at the Ronald McDonald House. Brittany describes hospital rooms and medical terms as her new normal.
Although Makenna is just steps away at the House, she and Makiya have a special bond that only twins experience. Brittany says, “When Makiya is experiencing pain, Makenna feels it and cries.” Makenna and Makiya are the best of friends, and have fun playing with each other in the hospital room. Too young to speak words, they playfully talk to one another in their own special baby language.
Brittany has become close with many families staying at the House, and she considers them family. “I don’t have much family,” Brittany explains. “But the Ronald McDonald House has given me that – a big family.” When Brittany, a single mother, first arrived at the House, she was anxious and scared. All she knew was that Makiya needed a new heart. Brittany needed to be strong for her girls, but the future seemed bleak. It wasn’t until she experienced the kindness of a fellow mother staying at the House that Brittany knew she had the strength to get through. “I was in the kitchen one afternoon, crying and upset. I wasn’t sure I could do this, put my baby through this,” describes Brittany. “Then she was there. She told me, ‘You’ve got to do this for your girls. You are strong enough.’” It is this type of unconditional love and support that will help comfort Brittany during the days ahead.