Wyatt and Evie’s Perfect Match

Wyatt and Evie’s Perfect Match

family standing on the beach

It’s been close to three years since the Browns stayed at the Akron Ronald McDonald House, what Evie calls “their old house” and we followed up to learn how Wyatt is doing today.

August of 2020 was an uncertain time. Life for many seemed suspended, normal routines upended at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, childhood illness doesn’t stop for a pandemic and it was during that time that Jesse and Lisa Brown noticed their 4-year-old son, Wyatt, a “rough-and-tumble” kid, had more bruises than usual.

Things escalated quickly. One night at the hospital turned into five. For the next several weeks, Wyatt was in and out of the hospital for transfusions and tests. Lisa and Jesse took turns, alternating between staying at the hospital with Wyatt and at home with his two-year-old sister, Evie.

It was really hard...when one's here and one's there, you don't have the support of each other to lean on.

Jesse Brown

Brown Family in Hospital, 2021By October, Wyatt was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia. His bone marrow was failing and a transplant was the only way to save his life. Fortunately, despite only a 20% chance, little Evie was a perfect match.

The transplant process would take months, and Wyatt would need to be in the hospital or minutes away, some of the time in isolation. The family didn’t know if they’d be able to be together the whole time. The Akron Ronald McDonald House ensured they could stay together in a safe and supportive environment, and the Browns checked in on Thanksgiving Day.

In the most difficult chapter of our lives, the Ronald McDonald House stepped in and cared for us. I remember looking forward to returning to the House after a day at the hospital.

Lisa Brown

At first, Lisa was extremely nervous about living away from home and their community for several months. But soon the Ronald McDonald House became their “home away from home” and “family away from family.” After 91 nights at the House, the Browns could finally go home. They were so grateful for their experience that they eagerly shared their story with us before they left.

For more details about the Browns’ journey and stay at the House, read our 2021 blog, Wishes for Wyatt. Lisa and Jesse also reflected on RMHC NEO’s impact on their family in this video, A Hero’s Welcome Home:

After their return home, life slowly started to return to normal for the Brown family. We checked in with them about a year after they first arrived at the Akron Ronald McDonald House and were excited to learn that Wyatt was once again a “rough-and-tumble” kid. Lisa later sent us some home videos of life with Wyatt and Evie, which we were able to share as this thank-you to those who had supported them on their journey:

Wyatt and Evie BrownToday, less than three years since Wyatt’s transplant, he is a healthy seven-year-old, playing baseball and attending first grade. Wyatt has fond memories of the House and has become an avid pull tab collector. He shares his story with anyone who will listen and encourages them to start collecting pull tabs for him to donate to the House. The high school custodian, Wyatt’s bus driver, Lisa’s students, and many other family members and friends have all started collecting tabs because of Wyatt. Evie is now four and remains healthy. Lisa says Evie is feisty and spunky, and although she doesn’t remember specifics of the family’s time at the House, she thinks of the Ronald McDonald House as their “old house.”

If we didn't have the support of the Ronald McDonald House and the staff to keep our family together, I don't know how we would have made it.


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