Meet Stevie Manstan of Labrador City, NL
Family is medicine and right now its helping seven-month-old Stevie Manstan of Labrador City battle a congenital heart defect at Ronald McDonald House
It is hard to put into words how a parent feels when their child has been diagnosed with an serious illness. And for families who don’t live close to the medical care and resources they need, there is an added stress, distance. RMHC gives families with a sick child what they need most – each other.
While expecting her second child, Sara Matthews, of Labrador City, NL experienced complications early in the pregnancy which required a lot of travel to St. John’s for monitoring. During this time Sara and Jeffrey were told, prenatally, that their child was diagnosed not only with Down Syndrome but also a congenital Heart Defect known as an atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD). This condition is a heart defect where there are holes between the chambers of the right and left sides of the heart, and the valves that control the flow of blood between these chambers may not be formed correctly. Their little girl, Stevie, was born on July 26, 2022. She spent the next 24 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“Being away from our home was extremely difficult and worrisome, especially when I had to leave my son, Jack who is only 7 years old, in Labrador City. We didn’t know what to do or where to stay. All we knew was that we needed to be with Stevie during this critical time.” Sara Matthews, Stevie’s mom.
It was then that a social worker at the hospital referred the family to the programs and services offered at Ronald McDonald House.
“Once we were at Ronald McDonald House we were only across the parking lot from her and I was even close enough to make it in the middle of the night for her feedings. ”
In December, Stevie had open heart surgery to repair the hole in the middle of her heart. While the surgery was successful, there are still some complications.
Stevie will need to be followed by cardiology for the rest of her life.
“We are so grateful to have the Ronald McDonald House to stay close by our daughter in hospital. Now we have a place to stay when we go for our regular cardiology appointments every six weeks. Ronald McDonald House feels like our second home.”
At Ronald McDonald House there are several programs and resources to support families far from home with a sick child. “The quilts given to us for Stevie and Jack when we first entered the house were such a special gift and we loved coming back to a cooked meal after a long day at the hospital. My son Jack loved the Family Time Theatre room. It gave him a chance to feel included while our focus had to be heavily on Stevie in the hospital ” Sara continued
Stevie has a long road ahead of her filled with medical appointments and treatment. With the family living in Labrador City, more than 2100km away from our provinces’ only pediatric hospital, they have come to rely on the programs and services at Ronald McDonald House to keep their family together and near the medical care and resources Stevie needs.