Love and Dedication
To the employees and volunteers of the Boston Ronald McDonald House
In her own words, 18-year-old Ke (CoCo) Yang shares the story of her family’s journey from China to seek treatment for osteosarcoma.
Hello, my name is Ke Yang, and I am an 18-year-old female adolescent from China. Due to a condition called “bone sarcoma”, I came to Boston Children’s Hospital twice (this second time due to relapse). I came for the first time on a dark, stormy night in the December of 2014. We traveled and moved from place to place for 13 hours straight until we reached a new seemingly foreign country: The United States of America. After we landed, my family was extremely emotionally detached. At first, we desired to come to America to pursue our new hopes and dreams, but a huge obstacle lay ahead: we were not able to communicate in English. Before we came, our friends helped us receive connections to the Boston Ronald McDonald House.
From afar, we saw a lit house; we had finally arrived at our destination. The moment we entered the House, a gust of warm air filled us up, and the moment the employees came to the realization that I had a condition where I had just gotten surgery for my leg, they immediately arranged a room for us on the second floor to avoid any difficulties in climbing stairs. The arrangement of our bedroom was very well-furnished. After putting down my luggage, I felt a pang of hungriness. My mother went to the kitchen on the first floor, where she found an assortment of foods and utensils. Being here, we were able to implement our own habits and eating styles with the food that they provided. My mother was able to quickly whip up a delightful, hot meal. After eating, we moved over to the warm and cozy living room to relax and take a breath. Next to us, there was a computer and piano room, very comforting and cozy, which lifted our mood. At the same time, the Ronald McDonald House gave me a sense of what a real home felt like in a foreign world; it was really a smooth beginning.
In the 10 or so days when I had check ups at the Boston Children’s Hospital, the director Andy gave us a vivid and deep impression. There were always patient and organized employees who helped us clean our room until it was spotless and even went as far as to help out families who didn’t have the time, put their dishes in the dishwasher with detergent. Or, they would put laundry that was ready to go into the closet be folded and ready. Whenever the children made the playrooms messy, the employees and volunteers will always clean it and make it neat. All these acts of kindness really touched my heart.
Remember one of these weekends, while snowing outside, the house is as warm as in spring, father and mother in the kitchen busy cooking delicious dishes to me. I sat in the dining room and saw a heap of crayons for the children to draw. I took the crayons and draw the Van Gogh’s Star, and never wished to publish it. When the employee Caitlin took this picture to ask my mother whether am I willing to put my picture on their Facebook, my mother nodded happily. I never expect the first published work of mine was in a foreign website. This is the Ronald McDonald House’s idea of inspiring! Following is the Van Gogh’s Star:
This experience of me going out of my comfort zone and my homeland has definitely been a hard one, but the Boston Ronald McDonald House helped provide a home away from home that was only conveniently 15 minutes journey away from the Boston Children’s Hospital. All has made me determined to be an asset to my world, just like the Boston Ronald McDonald House, and give back to what has given me so much.
November of 2016, my cancer relapsed. I heard that the Boston Children’s Hospital was experimenting with a new prototype, and we decided to once again come to America. Once again, when we arrived at our destination, we saw again, our old home, a couple of warm employees who still remembered us, and saw our old friend: Andy.
Just like last time, in the time when we were staying there, there would often be employees and even kind volunteers helping out. On the day of Thanksgiving, at 10 in the morning, there was a couple who brought over loads of food. The moment they entered the door, they began to get busy in the kitchen and making roasted turkey, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. There were also a ton of other foods that I am unable to name now that were sufficient for a feast. During that time, I met a woman who started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House since when she was in middle school, which really aroused a sense of respect for her. There was also a man who was physically impaired due to his legs and relied on a cane to walk. The people that usually were shut up in their rooms all came down that day to unite. At 3 PM, they provided a filling Thanksgiving dinner. It was as if all prejudice or any cultural differentiation had been diminished, as if we were a magnificently large family, all laughing together, celebrating a joyous Thanksgiving.
The Christmas is on the corner, and the house has set up a Christmas tree hung with silk bows. The whole house was decorated as gratifying as the ones in China in Spring days. More gratefully, the donors presented new mattress to McDonald’s house, so that we can enjoy it together. What a nice thing!
Though the Boston Ronald McDonald House employees and volunteers may not be personally acquainted with you, it’s still those very people who bring us the feeling of family. I give thanks to everyone who helped my family and I get through these hard times. It was you guys who helped me experience the feeling of love and dedication to the cause, and I am forever grateful.