Seven years ago, four month old Bailey spent her first holiday season at Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Seven years and 13 surgeries later, Bailey and her family are forever grateful to the House That Love Built.
Bailey was born in 2010 in Amarillo, Texas with VACTERL, which is classified by five birth defects that affect the kidneys, heart, limbs, spine and other anatomical abnormalities. Bailey has kidney disease, a heart murmur, a rare anatomy disorder and a tethered spinal cord with caudal regression. She was life-flighted to Children’s Medical Center just a few days after she was born. Bailey was in critical condition and her mom, Shelley, didn’t want to be far from her young daughter. A social worker told her about Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Without the House, she says, “I would have been sleeping in a recliner. My husband and other children wouldn’t have been able to visit. We never had to worry about finding a hotel room or how much our next meal would cost.”
Bailey was discharged in December 2010 and her family spent her first holiday season at RMHD. Shelley remembers the beautiful decorations all throughout the House. But Bailey loved them most of all. When Bailey was discharged, she had to remain flat on her back with a wound vac to promote healing. Bailey’s favorite place to be was near the Christmas tree. “Hours would pass, says her mom, and for a while she forgot about her pain and she just got lost in the beauty of the tree- all those ornaments that shimmered and shined.” To this date, it is that tree that is still remembered in the Tracy family. “Like the tree at your Grandma’s house that makes your heart feel like a child again. Walking into the House in December, it is like walking into your own home.”
Bailey has had 13 surgeries and has a smile that will light up a room. She thinks of RMHD as her second home, loves “Shiloh, the craft room and Ms. Norma” and when she remembers her time in Dallas, it is of happy memories, not painful ones.