Just two years old, Pierce Casavant had already had a difficult journey.
Complications with swallowing and reflux had caused him to lose weight as an infant; a tracheotomy became necessary. Then, diagnosed with arthrogryposis, a condition hindering the mobility of joints in ankles, wrists and jaw, Pierce needed splints on his hands and a series of casts to correct his feet.
His parents, Jon and Amy, sought treatment for Pierce at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. It was important that Pierce’s older sisters, Lauren, 7 and Marli, 4, come along from their home in Rugby, North Dakota.
Through several visits to Minneapolis for Pierce’s treatment, including one four-week stay in 2009, the family found a home at the Ronald McDonald House – Oak Street.
Being part of the House meant Jon and Amy could stay near Pierce, and Lauren and Marli also could be nearby to share their love.
“If not for the House, we would have had to leave the girls with family back home,” Amy said. “We feel the most significant part of Pierce’s healing was being with his sisters. It’s good for him to be near them. That couldn’t have happened without the House.
“Staying at the House and being able to be close to Pierce is beyond what we could have hoped for,” Amy said. “And now, the girls want to come back all the time. For them, living at the House was like camp or a vacation.”
Amy continued, “Being able to keep our family together made a tremendously difficult situation as easy as it could be. When you’re fighting for your child’s health, I don’t know what else you could ask for.”