Home / Events / Hearts of Gold

Hearts of Gold

Help families be BETTER TOGETHER.

2021 Hearts of Gold story: the Parker Family

When 2020 brought a wave of panic and anxiety, the Parker family never expected to add cancer to that list. A week before Halloween, they found out Alexis, the eldest daughter, was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.

Within a short time frame, Alexis was booked to have treatments for a month at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger. With pandemic concerns, restrictions and hospital treatments for the next month, they told Stephanie it was best if she stayed with her girls at the Ronald McDonald House.

“The Ronald McDonald House helped my family stay together during the difficult time,” shared Stephanie. “It gave me a sense of comfort having a hot meal every night and everyone was so friendly.”

Stephanie and her girls stayed for a total of 29 nights from February to March. The staff often looked forward to seeing Stephanie with the girls loaded in their little red wagon ready to tote them across the street to Erlanger for Alexis’ treatment. The House helped bridge a gap or need for the Parker family, not only with helping them be together throughout Alexis’ treatments, but Stephanie didn’t have a car to drive to the hospital daily from Dalton, Georgia.

When asked what advice she would share with future House families, Stephanie said, “Just trust in them. The House would surprise you about how comforting they can be towards you in your most difficult time. We experienced where any little thing that was going wrong, all we had to do was say something and it was fixed or taken care of.”

Thank you for supporting the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House and helping families like the Parker’s stay close to their sick child in the hospital!

2021 Hearts of Gold Meaning:

The 2021 Hearts of Gold ornament represents 30 years the community has supported and bridged the gap to help thousands of families with very sick children stay close to the best medical care in the region. The Parker family is no exception. The Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House has continued to be a home away from home, despite the pandemic.