Max Herrick of Barrington just celebrated his sixth birthday. And in his young life, he has already been through more health crises than most people go through in a lifetime.
Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Max underwent his first open heart surgery when he was just three days old. Shortly after, his name was put on the heart transplant list, and a donor heart was available two months later. Following the surgery, Max was placed on anti-rejection medication, which ultimately lead to his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Throughout the difficult journey, Max and his family have found support in the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Prior to his birth, Max’s parents, Liz and Jared, knew very little about the not-for-profit organization. But when Max was just a few hours old, the hospital informed the family of the many benefits and told them that they were going to be there for the long haul.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Liz. “We spent seven months of living there while Max was in the hospital and it became our extended family.”
Ronald McDonald Houses provide families with a place to stay close to the treatment hospital, so the Herricks were always able to remain close to Max. While staying there, they also met other families going through similar situations, making it easier for them to deal with such difficult circumstances.
Making this all possible for the Herricks and other families are the volunteers and generous donations from groups and individuals that keep the Ronald McDonald Houses operating.
“You may not personally have experience with the Ronald McDonald House, but you or someone you know has been there or knows about it, so it’s very important to support,” Liz says.
Her husband Jared adds, “They volunteer their time, and it’s a wonderful extension of the community that we couldn’t do without. We’re very proud to have them as friends.”
Although Max is still undergoing surgeries and treatments, he and his family remain positive.
“When you have all the people supporting you, it’s not easy, but it’s bearable,” Jared says.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI) have selected the Herricks to serve as the Ambassador Family for “Macy’s Passport Presents Glamorama” on Friday, August 13 at The Chicago Theatre. The annual event benefits the RMHC-CNI. Learn more about the event and ticket availability here.