Bee A Hero: How the Ronald McDonald House gave support for a young child
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — When Shannon Baker noticed something wasn’t right with her newborn son Linkyn, she took him straight to the doctor where things escalated quickly.
"It’s so hard to see your child so sick and you can’t do anything," said Baker. "I was like ‘no, something is wrong.’ So that’s when we left to Strong, and upon getting there they weren’t really sure in the moment what was wrong, but then it led to … he’s gonna need open-heart surgery and it’s his heart."
Then came the diagnosis.
"I have Shone’s Complex," said 8-year-old Linkyn. "The left side of my heart is smaller than it should be."
It’s a very rare defect, making up less than 1% of all congenital heart conditions. Thankfully, Linkyn and his family had a place to stay at the Ronald McDonald House within the Golisano Children’s Hospital. It’s located just a short walk from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where Linkyn underwent his first open-heart surgery.
"The first time, Linkyn was about 12 days old when we stayed in the hospital," said Baker.
Five years later, Linkyn would need another open-heart surgery. This time, he and his family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House on Westmoreland Drive, a quick drive to the hospital. It has 24 bedrooms, a full kitchen, laundry room, fitness room, media room, and play areas for kids.
"They have really nice rooms and the beds are really comfortable," said Linkyn.
Linkyn’s family lives in the Finger Lakes region, but Linkyn needed treatment in Rochester.
"I don’t know how we would’ve done it, living so far away," said Baker, "we have like an hour and a half to two hour drive … and then being right at the hospital … you’re steps away, so if something happens you can just rush over there and you’re there."
Linkyn is now a happy, healthy 8-year-old kid living life to the fullest, and he has a couple of souvenirs from the fight for his life. First, his surgery scars which he wears like a badge of honor. Next, a quilted blanket that he received from staff at the Ronald McDonald House — it’s a comforting reminder of the kindness and warmth he was shown while he was there.
"There are no words to describe how incredible that place is," said Baker.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester is run entirely on community donations. It’s because of community support that Linkyn and families like his have a safe place to stay while they undergo lifesaving treatment in Rochester.
"If it weren’t for those doctors I wouldn’t be here today," said Linkyn, "but thankfully, I’m here."
News10NBC is teaming up with WBEE for Bee A Hero Day, this Friday, Nov. 12. It’s an all-day fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester.
-Call (585) 300-4282
-Text "RMHCR" to 366283
Watch News10NBC on Friday for live coverage of Bee A Hero day during News10NBCToday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.