Finding Hope at the House: The McKelvey Family Story

Finding Hope at the House: The McKelvey Family Story

Hear James and Emily Share their Story

Pregnant, full of joy, love and hope. The anticipation of first-time parents-to-be on the way to an ultrasound is captivating. For Emily and James McKelvey, each appointment, each routine checkup was met with wide-eyed wonder at the realization they were about to embark on life’s greatest journey: parenthood.

Emily settled in for her ultrasound, filled with excitement that she would soon hold their son, Abraham, in her arms. When the doctor showed concern, her heart raced. Excitement waned as she and James nervously waited for the news: there was a mass on their baby’s left side. Abraham was diagnosed with CLOVES syndrome, a rare condition causing tissue overgrowth. Since that day, life has been anything but routine for Emily and James.

CLOVES syndrome manifested itself in Abraham’s body…it caused cysts to grow superficially on both of his sides, around his back and across his abdomen. It also caused some feet deformities, so he has some really cool feet.

Emily McKelvey

Abraham James McKelvey, “our Brave Abe” or “Amazing Abe” as his parents like to call him, was born in June of 2019, nine weeks early. Though faced with many unknowns, James and Emily’s love for their son and unwavering faith kept them strong. CLOVES is very complex, meaning lots of hospital visits, both scheduled and unscheduled. The McKelveys were referred to specialists in Cleveland, a two-hour round-trip drive from their home in Louisville, Ohio.

Days were long and trips were many. A nurse saw their exhaustion and referred James and Emily to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. There they found a home—a place to rest, have a meal, meet other families with medically fragile children and most important, be close to their son and his medical team. Once a source of unimaginable stress, trips to Cleveland are now met with the relief of knowing that they have a home at the House, close to their Amazing Abe.

One of the major blessings of staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is we are five minutes from the hospital. The fear and the anxiety that would come from needing to drive to the hospital when he was in the NICU would have been so suffocating.

Emily McKelvey

Now nearly a year old, Abe is a joyful baby who brings smiles to all who meet him. While the days ahead will continue to present uncertainty for the McKelvey family, one thing is certain…they’ll be there for Abraham, and the Ronald McDonald House will be there for them.

In situations that you don’t know what to do, or where to go next…people can come to this House and just relax and feel loved and taken care of…they don’t have to worry…it’s all taken care of for them.

James McKelvey

Please help us continue to be a home for families like the McKelveys. You are the difference. Any gift, no matter how large or small, matters. On behalf of the families you help support, we thank you.

P.S. If you would like to join the McKelvey family on their journey raising their Brave Abe, you may follow them on Instagram here.