Zoey was only four months old when her doctors shared the life-shattering news she had cancer. However, she was "blessed" with a Stage 4S Neuroblastoma diagnosis - meaning the cancer would essentially dissipate on its own without treatment.
A Devastating Diagnosis
However, two years later after a routine scan, her doctors reluctantly handed out devastating news that the cancer had spread. Zoey went from needing no treatment to now aggressive, life-saving care that only innovative hospitals on the forefront of cancer treatment could provide.
After completing 6 rounds of chemo and 12 days of double-dose radiation at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Sibley Hospital, her family packed and traveled to NYC to give Zoey the very best chance to survive at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. MSK specializes in Neuroblastoma cases, and is home of the revolutionary 3f8 immunotherapy.
Zoey's social worker recommended Ronald McDonald House New York to her family as a close place to stay without having to worry about meals or transportation.
RMH-NY Welcomes Zoey & Family
From the moment they arrived, Zoey's family just remembered how incredibly simple the House made the transition so they could stay focused on their little one.
Ronald McDonald House New York provided the family with a private room in its upper east side House, three meals a day, toys and play spaces for Zoey, laundry, and transportation to and from the hospital everyday. Zoey and her family felt a great burden lift the minute they arrived.
Zoey and her family felt like they could breathe and concentrate. The House kept the family close to everything they needed, and close to one another throughout Zoey's treatment. Her mother, Meyli, was overwhelmed.
"It's just amazing. The House made everything so easy, we could just focus on taking care of Zoey."
Zoey's Favorite Things
Zoey's LOVED the House therapy dogs. She loved to pet them and let them lick her face. They were at the top of her list of favorite things about the House.
Zoey's treatment left her so tired and her stomach so wound up at the end of days at the hospital that her appetite usually took a trip to Hawaii.
Her favorite healthy snacks were variations on an 'apple slices and cereal' theme. Those days, a version of Zoey's favorite snacks would be waiting for her when she arrived back from the hospital and needed something to eat.
Hot meals waited for the rest of the family too. Everyday, volunteers and staff at the House would gather Zoey's favorite whenever they were asked.
"Even getting her to eat anything is a small victory. But whatever she can think of, its usually here."
Zoey was so excited, even after a long day of treatment, when Ronald McDonald House New York staff brought a manicure kit to her room. Her mother polished her nails while Zoey laid in bed resting.
Zoey's parents remembered how House staff and volunteers always created moments that made Zoey smile. Through the hardship, the hospitals and the sickness, Ronald McDonald House New York did everything they could to make the family's life simple, so the family could focus on Zoey.
Donor Gifts Directly Affect the Kids
It sounds very simple, but it's a huge thing the direct impact donors to Ronald McDonald House New York have had on Zoey and her family and many other families with children battling life-threating illnesses.
The generosity of every gift given to the House puts a meal in front these children and their families three times a day. Donations offer families transportation to and from the hospital where they undergo treatment. These thoughtful gifts provide Zoey and thousands of other kids just like her so many reasons to smile even through the hardest treatment days at the hospital.
When Zoey Smiles...
Meyli fondly remembered Zoey looking up at her after one of those days, her eyes filled with pride and so much strength.
"Mommy, I didn't cry today."
Every dollar given by Ronald McDonald House New York's donors goes directly to the children, and their families to make life easier in the face of insurmountable challenge. Giving to the House keeps families close and focused on the most important thing: getting better.
Most of all, every RMH-NY donor's gift keeps families like Zoey's close to one another. This is one of the main reasons many of the children's treatments succeed.
The moments when Zoey or any one of the amazing kids that come to live in the House smile... You can't put a price on that. Keep Zoey and those just like her smiling.