Meet Our Families – The Gottfrieds

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta provides a home-away-from-home for over 1,000 families each year, and we love when our families share their stories. The Gottfried family shared this story (edited for publishing).

Kyndal’s Story:

My daughter, Kyndal, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma when she was 5 years old in March 2021. We were visiting family in Texas when Kyndal was rushed to the ER, finding out she had a mass in her brain, and shortly after, that she had cancer. Because of Kyndal’s condition, we were unable to go home to California and proceeded with treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital. We went through treatment for a year in Texas and were able to go home cancer-free. Kyndal then relapsed 2 months later. We decided to go through Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for high-dosage chemo and a stem cell transplant, which was successful. We were able to go home cancer-free once again. Kyndal then relapsed 6 months later. We started treatment once again in LA and it appeared to be successful for the first 3 months. Unfortunately, it became none effective and they didn’t have any other options for us. We searched for treatment plans across the USA and the clinical trial in Augusta, Georgia seemed to be the best fit. I found this clinical trial by doing research online.

Once we got in touch with Dr. Johnson and his team, they told me about RMHC in Augusta. We needed to stay somewhere for 4 weeks, so it was a huge relief to hear this was an option. Before traveling to Georgia, Kyndal and I were a little bit nervous. We had a new team, a new hospital, far from home, and we weren’t sure what the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta would be like. We arrived in Augusta really late on a Sunday, and I was pleasantly surprised they would still check us in. The check-in process was quick and easy. The facility is very nice, clean, and comfortable. They provide towels and a nice basket with toiletries. Kyndal loved playing in the playroom, especially with the other kids. And I felt comfortable with her playing with all the toys because of how clean they were. The laundry rooms and equipment are very nice. The kitchen and the appliances are also very nice. It’s never too crowded to do what you need to do, and once again, it’s very clean. Being a single mom and traveling with Kyndal alone, all these on-site services and amenities meant so much to us.

Every single person we interacted with at the RMHC in Augusta was delightful. They always asked if we needed anything or if they could do anything to help, but were never overbearing or asked too many questions. The volunteers who came in to cook, clean, and make fresh flower bouquets for every table, service dogs and their handlers, etc. were always so happy to be there. They were genuine people with the biggest hearts.

Kyndal will be on this clinical trial with Dr. Johnson for months, possibly years to come. We will fly to Georgia once a month for a few days of appointments then fly home. With traveling expenses being high, we are so thankful that the Ronald McDonald House in Augusta will allow us to stay when we are in town for appointments.

For families who are in a similar situation as we are, I am praying for you. This journey will never be easy, but we don’t have to fight alone. Do lots of research and accept the help that is being offered. Although it can be hard, push yourself to engage with the community around you. We need it more than we realize and so do our children.

To all the supporters and people who run the RMHC, thank you. Thank you for creating a community that supports families who have children fighting in some sort of way. For us, it’s childhood cancer. Thank you for taking the financial burden of housing off our shoulders so we can focus on what matters most, our child’s health. Thank you for working so hard to keep the house clean and stocked for us. Thank you for the love and all the prayers that so many give on top of everything else they’re doing. We love you and appreciate you more than I could ever put into words.

With love,

Raquel Gottfried

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta serves over 1,000 families each year. Our volunteer-run community kitchen serves over 15,000 meals, and our volunteers and families run over 5,000 loads of laundry every year.

We hope that this story has inspired you to get involved and help families just like this one. The staff, our volunteers, and the Board of Directors thank the Gottfrieds family for sharing their story.