Joshua's Story

On November 29, 2011, our family had a life changing experience. Joshua Lee Wilkinson was born. Baby Joshua was deprived of oxygen at birth or in utero after a fast natural delivery. He was diagnosed with (HIE) Hypoxic: lack of oxygen, Ischemic: lack of blood, Encephalopathy: a specific brain injury.

He was immediately transferred to The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick for a procedure called “Cool Cap”. Cool Cap is a therapy where the brain is put in a hypothermic state for 72 hours then slowly warmed to preserve viable brain cells.  Thankfully this treatment saved his life and hopefully prevented long term issues.  We will not know what long term issues he will have in the near future only time will tell. As parents you never expect in a million years to go thru such a traumatic entry of a baby into the world.  This was a dark and scary time for our family.

We realized that we were going to be in the hospital for a while.  We truly didn’t know what to do with ourselves or where to turn. We reached out to Ronald McDonald House and a room opened up.   RMH was truly a godsend for us.  For the next 90 days, Madelyn (Our four year old), Jen, and I had the opportunity to still be a family.  Carol, Katy, Skye, Jill and all the many volunteers that we met were welcoming to our family.  We were overwhelmed with the love we were shown during these holidays. 

We are so grateful to have stayed at RMH. It’s hard to not be inspired to volunteer after such an experience. Many nights one of us would be in the hospital and the other one would be at the house with Madelyn.  We would be up late researching all the information that the Doctors were saying about Josh.   We got the idea to work on computers for each room at the house.  We hope that families will be able to use these computers.  The other families we stayed with were a great resource for us. We would sometimes be all together in the dining room sharing a quick bite to eat or a coffee while discussing having an ill child. It is reassuring that the house is a safe place and it never turns its back on families in crisis.

Josh is now 10 months old and doing exceptionally well given the circumstances surrounding his birth.  We pray every day that the he will continue to grow and recover.  We know our little guy is a fighter and he continues to amaze us every day. We would like to thank RMH not only for a place to sleep, do laundry, get a hot meal (great way for you to volunteer) but for giving us love and hope when that was all we had to hold on to.  We will forever be in debt to you.


To learn the many ways you can help families in need at The Ronald McDonald House, please visit our volunteer page or make a donation.