Meet Jerrica Bartlett of Labrador City
Shortly after Jerrica Bartlett was born in Labrador City on June 30, 2015, her blood sugars dropped suddenly and she was immediately air lifted to the children’s hospital in St. John’s, more than 2000 km away from their home.
It was then that Jerrica’s mom, Darlene, was introduced to the programs and services at Ronald McDonald House. She recalls that first experience as such a relief because she was far from home, alone, just had a C-section and had no where to go.
Jerrica’s parents, Darlene and Elvis, later received confirmation that Jerrica, at only ten days old, had Down Syndrome, but that wasn’t all. Jerrica also had a Congenital Heart Disease, a ventricular septal defect (VSD). A VSD is a hole between the right and left ventricles, oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs leaks from the left ventricle into the right ventricle instead of being pumped into the aorta and out to the rest of the body. Then, at only 6 months old, Jerrica had open-heart surgery.
“Jerrica will need regular medical follow up for the rest of her life and there is no question that our family will continue to need the programs and services at Ronald McDonald House. We truly do not know what we would have done since 2015 without the Ronald McDonald House, its volunteers, programs and staff. We always look forward to staying at the Ronald McDonald House during each visit to St. John’s. It has truly become our home away from home.” – Darlene Bartlett, Labrador City
Darlene added that they have made some lifelong friends at Ronald McDonald House. “It is an added comfort with every visit because every parent there is going through a similar situation as you are and they completely understand. With the volunteers and staff so happy and friendly, Ronald McDonald House has a very positive atmosphere”.
During each visit, Jerrica always looks forward to the Magic Room, a magical secret room full of toys that every child gets to visit at least once during their stay. Even when Jerrica is having a bad day because of medical appointments and tests, she always leaves the Magic Room with a smile and a new toy.
The Bartlett family continues to travel to St. John’s at least once per year for follow up appointments and more often if needed for other medical complications that may arise. In February 2020, she developed seizures and will now require even more frequent visits to the children’s hospital in St. John’s.
Please consider supporting Ronald McDonald House to help keep families close to each other and the medical care and resources they need, when they need it the most. www.RMHCNL.com/donate