The day Maddox Carter was born started out like any normal day. On August, 27 2010, Monique, Maddox’s mom, worked half a day and met her husband, Sean, at the hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina for a planned c-section.
But the day ended unlike any other, when Maddox was transferred to UNC Children’s for emergency heart surgery.
“It was very overwhelming, the fear of the unknown,” Sean said. “We dealt with our daughter in the NICU when she was born at six-weeks premature, so we had so many thoughts in our head of what was wrong with him, would he be ok, how long would this last, how would we adapt?”
Sean traveled to Chapel Hill with Maddox while Monique recovered. “I had no idea what to do or where to stay,” Sean said. “I was totally blind.” That’s when he was referred to the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill by one of the nurses.
“It was heartwarming, but also a blur,” he said. “It was so nice to not have to worry about where would we stay and not have to stay in the hospital waiting room or a hotel.”
Monique was able to join him later and the family stayed at the House for 10 days, a stretch Monique compared to the movie “Groundhog Day” because “you would go through the same process every day,” shuttling back and forth between the House and the hospital.
The family left the House with their healthy baby boy and returned home to six-year-old big sister Maysen. “After about six months, we knew the impact the House had on us and we met others and talked about our experience and what the House was able to do for us.” Sean said. “We learned more about how the House operates and we knew we wanted to give back.”
The Carter family began looking into ways to support the House, and decided to fundraise to buy a leaf on the House’s Tree of Life. “We wanted a permanent memory as a way to say thank you,” Sean said.
Maysen had the idea to sell her artwork to help fund raise, and friends and family contributed donations toward the leaf in honor of Maddox’s first birthday.
“We know when we return to the House we can always find the leaf and it brings back such heartwarming memories to us,” Sean said. “Maddox has a story tell and show others, and we hope our story can inspire those going through tough times.”
These days, the Carter Family enjoys traveling and volunteering as a family. “They both have a servant’s heart,” Sean said of his two children.
As Maddox gets ready to turn seven-years-old this August, his family continues to be wonderful friends of the House. “We love to tell our story of how the House supported us in our toughest time,” Sean said. “The House is a part of our family.”
Just as Maddox’s leaf serves as a permanent reminder of hope for the Carter Family, you can honor and celebrate your loved ones with a personalized brick lining the walkways of the beautiful family courtyard. For more information on commemorative bricks, click HERE. For further information on tribute gifts or various naming opportunities throughout campus, email email@example.com.
Carolina Love is a series of stories written and presented by Ronald McDonald House Chapel Hill.
CAROLINA LOVE: Celebrating the stories of families, volunteers and donors who have made the House a true home away from home over the last 30 years. For three decades, we have embraced every family that has come to our door, and each has a unique story. These are but a few of the many stories the House has been a part of since it opened. Carolina Love is a behind the scenes look at what we do, those we serve and those on whom we depend to help us carry out our mission of keeping families close.