Scottish Rite House Offers Healing for the Hood Family

Lindsay and Brandon Hood from Fortson, Georgia, are proud parents of two beautiful daughters, Harley, 8, and Meritt, their youngest, who brought the Hood family to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House before she was even born.

At Lindsay’s 20-week OBGYN appointment, an ultrasound showed an abnormality of Meritt’s bowel. Meritt’s bowel progressively worsened over the next few weeks, and she was diagnosed with bowel atresia. Lindsay drove to Atlanta weekly for consistent monitoring of Meritt’s condition. At 37 weeks, Meritt was born by emergency C-section when her heart rate dropped dangerously during contractions.

After a complicated pregnancy, the Peachtree Dunwoody House provided a place of rest and recovery for Lindsay. “Even though my mind was in a fog, and I was in immense pain, I remember looking around and being in awe. I felt that I was staying in a luxury home. The House is absolutely beautiful,” Lindsay says.

Meritt Hood

Meritt Hood

Soon after she was born, Meritt had a bowel resection. Staying at the Ronald McDonald House allowed the Hood family to be together for her recovery.

“Not only did the Ronald McDonald House meet our physical basic needs, but also the staff and volunteers met our mental needs,” Lindsay says. “We were surrounded by positive people, both at the House and hospital. This place uplifted our spirits.”

The House made a positive impact on every member of the Hood family, even Harley. Something as simple as a teddy bear and craft activities provided a much-needed mental release for Harley after long days in the hospital by her sister’s side. “The Ronald McDonald House immediately became a home-away-from-home for her,” says Lindsay.

The House allowed Lindsay to be present with the team taking care of Meritt and bond with her despite physical restrictions. “Driving back and forth would have taken precious time away from her,” Lindsay says.

The fellowship and community of the Ronald McDonald House did not go unnoticed by the Hoods. “Staff, volunteers, and other families show support by being interested in each other’s lives during these trying times. Just a smile and greeting are enough to get you through another day,” Lindsay says.

Today, Meritt is almost 6 months old and is doing great. The only continued medical care has been to treat her milk allergy and maintain a healthy weight gain.