17 Dec A Letter of Thanks: Leanna, Lee and Elizabeth’s Story
Baby Elizabeth had fought for her life, and her parents Lee and Leanna credit the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland with enabling them to get the care she needs to heal. What began as this heartfelt note of gratitude led to some beautiful photos at the House and Leanna sharing their story.
The joy shows in their faces when Lee Shepard and Leanna Jarrell hold their daughter Elizabeth. Lee beams as he clicks through dozens of photos on his phone, and Leanna exudes happiness when she talks about Elizabeth’s progress and what a strong and brave child she is.
It’s not always easy, as Elizabeth has suffered a heart attack and currently needs to be fed through a tube, but the family remains strong and dedicated to her care and recovery. The Ronald McDonald House has helped them on their journey, which Leanna describes:
“Elizabeth was admitted to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital on August 19, 2018 for a brain injury caused by cardiac arrest. This was the result of a reflux issue she was born with. Unfortunately, while her life was being saved in the ER, the tube used to help Elizabeth breathe damaged her vocal cords and doctors had to give her a tracheotomy. Because of the vocal cord dysfunction, Elizabeth is also unable to swallow properly and currently must be fed through a G-tube.
Elizabeth’s recovery is a long process, and she’s working very hard. To fix the reflux issue, she received a surgery that made a better valve above her stomach. Now she is doing therapy to help her learn to swallow properly again. The hope is that doctors will be able to reverse the trach and Elizabeth will be able to eat by mouth again. She is such a strong and amazing little girl and we are so proud of her! She has been through so much in her life already and she is truly a miracle and blessing to us!
Elizabeth was at Rainbow for 91 days until we could finally bring her home to South Point, Ohio, which is a little over 5 hours from Cleveland. We would never have been able to afford a hotel and meals, and it would have been impossible to commute. Through the hardest time in our life, the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland really helped us rest and gather ourselves so we could be there for our precious baby girl. We are forever grateful for everything and everyone at RMH making her visits possible!” — Leanna Jarrell
Your support helps children like Elizabeth receive care with family by their side.