Two Generations of Moms Touched by RMHC

Caitlin Fitch was born at a small hospital in Elmira, NY in the summer of 1994. Within 24 hours of birth, she and her mother were transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, nearly two hours away, where Caitlin would soon undergo the first of four major surgeries in her young life. Caitlin had been born with an improperly formed esophagus. She could not swallow, and needed advanced care to help her breathe and feed normally.

Faced with a long medical journey in a city far from home, Caitlin’s mom turned to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

“My mom was always grateful that she had the opportunity to stay there,” Caitlin says. “It gave her the opportunity to eat and sleep and get the time she needed for herself, even though she was devoting pretty much all of her time to staying with me.”

Collage of two photos - each showing a mom holding a newborn baby, one in 1994 and the other in 2023.

Caitlin recalls being with her mom at the Ronald McDonald House on numerous occasions as a young girl. Every time they had to travel the two hours from Elmira to Rochester for another surgery, test or procedure, the House was their home away from home. So, nearly three decades later, when Caitlin and her family needed a place to stay near another distant hospital, she knew that the Ronald McDonald House was the first place they should call.

Because of her complex surgical history, both of Caitlin’s own pregnancies were deemed high risk. Before her son, Korbin, was born in 2019, Caitlin and her husband, Kris, stayed at the Syracuse Ronald McDonald House to remain close to the best possible care — nearly an hour away from their home at the time. In 2023, Caitlin was pregnant again — this time expecting a little girl — and doctors advised her to stay close to Albany Medical Center in the weeks leading up to her due date.

“I’m very glad we were able to stay at the Albany Ronald McDonald House. It was so homey — there were lots of things for my son to do, we loved the meals prepared by the volunteers, and I was comfortable even though I was eight months pregnant and far from home. It really took a lot of the stress away,” Caitlin says.

At the Albany House, Caitlin and her family were checked in to the “Safe Harbor” bedroom, which features sailboat décor and many nautical details.

“The ocean has always been special to me and my mom,” Caitlin explains. “So even though she has passed, I felt like she had a hand in putting us in that room and keeping us safe.”

Caitlin’s baby girl, Aubrie, was born healthy and happy on April 4, 2023. The Fitch family returned home together just two days later.

From generation to generation, the Ronald McDonald House has been a safe harbor for countless women like Caitlin and her mom. Day in and day out, RMHC is there for moms so that moms can be there for their children. Honor a special woman in your life with a gift to RMHC, in celebration and support of all the mothers we serve throughout the year. Donate here.