Since February 2018, Yellow Door has provided temporary lodging for families of the most medically complex pediatric patients being treated at UVA Children's hospital.
Here are some of their stories:
Maggie & Family
Maggie and her mom, Brooke, strongly influenced JoAnne McTague creating the Yellow Door Foundation. While pregnant with Maggie, Brooke suffered a stroke. The damage to Brooke was negligible, but the damage to Maggie was severe. So much so, that she needed specialized treatment unavailable to her in Southwest Virginia. She needed the help of UVA Children's hospital in Charlottesville - five hours away. Because services like this are outpatient, a place to stay during each visit was critical. Mutual friends arranged for them to stay with JoAnne and her husband, Jeff, several times over a 5-month period. After witnessing firsthand the struggles for both mother and daughter and learning that over 50% of families like Maggie's cannot afford lodging outside the home, JoAnne decided to do something to help. In May 2017, she founded the Yellow Door Foundation, a 501 (c)3 organization whose mission is to provide FREE lodging for these medically complex children and their families for the duration of their treatment at UVA.
family stays range from 2 weeks to over 10 months
Malakai & Family
Malakai had been at UVA Children's hospital since his birth in February 2018. Following a heart transplant, at 4-months, he and his mom lived full time at our Dreamer apartment. Dad and his five older siblings visited on weekends. The Yellow Door apartment was a much needed sanctuary for the entire family for six months, and was the first opportunity they had to bond with their new brother. adly, after a series of complications, Malakai died on May 23, 2019. Our hearts are broken for the family of this wonderful little boy.
Gracie & Family
Four-year-old Gracie was diagnosed with liver cancer in July 2018, and underwent a transplant at UVA Children's hospital in mid-October. She and her mom Wendy stayed at the Baer/Hart apartment at Yellow Door for a month while she mended. Her dad and brother visited on weekends. Sadly, Gracie, with her boundless energy and optimism, is now fighting lung cancer. She ever optomistic little girl has returned to school, which she loves, plays softball, and wants to be a "betnarian."
Josh & Family
Young Josh's journey has been anything but easy. Before his birth, his mom learned that Josh had hypoplastic left heart syndrome - a complex and rare heart defect. The left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. For HLHS patients, heart surgery is a must. Josh had his first surgery at 3-days old, followed by another at 8-months and a third at age 3. After living with half a heart for almost six years, Josh underwent a heart transplant. In spite of some complications, his recovery has been a success.
His mom told us "It's worth going through everything. To see him smiling is incomparable, to hear him say Mommy I love you, fills my whole being."
Thomas & Family
Eleven-year-old bone cancer patient, Thomas and his grandparents stayed with us at the Kappa apartment while Thomas underwent 2 long rounds of chemo and surgery to remove 3 ribs! After 10 grueling months, during which he was sidetracked with pneumonia, Thomas was finally able to join his mom, who was also fighting cancer, at home in Northern VA. His grandma said "his whole demeanor changes when he gets back to the apartment and onto his beanbag lounger!"
Thomas is a true comedian and sports aficionado!
Please keep this wonderful family in your thoughts and prayers.
Nathan & Family
Nathan was diagnosed with cancer shortly after birth. Though his treatment was a success, it did irreparable damage to his heart. On Thanksgiving day, 2019, 6-year-old Nathan underwent a heart transplant! Thankfully, the surgery went well and Nathan was able to recover with his family at our new Rosie's Place apartment! He even got to play in snow for the first time ever during our one snow day of the season!
Jude & Family
One-month-old Jude is our youngest patient to date. He received a new heart at TWO-WEEKS-OF-AGE, which is hard to fathom! Jude and his parents stayed at our Dreamer apartment for six weeks. Mom and Dad took turns giving him his array of meds every three hours. Mom said
"it is beautiful and extremely cozy here, and we will be forever grateful to you guys for this blessing."
families travel an average of 145 miles to UVA Children's
Two-year-old Priscilla, from Bedford, VA, has Pyruvate Carboxylase, or PC deficiency, a rare genetic disorder characterized by failure to thrive, developmental delay, recurrent seizures and a failure of the body to produce the necessary fuels for energy. There's no known cause and no known cure - a heartbreaking fact Priscilla's mom knows all too well. Her first baby, Scarlet, died of the same disease at only nine-months-old!
Doctor's at University of Virginia Children’s hospital performed a 12-hour liver transplant in an attempt to save Priscilla's life. Mother and daughter spent two months at our Dreamer apartment while Priscilla recovered.
Eliza & Family
Two-year-old Eliza was diagnosed with kidney cancer shortly after her parents learned they were having a third child. Eliza bravely underwent 30 weeks of treatment, during which her family, including her biggest supporter, 4-year-old brother Carter, stayed at our Baer/Hart apartment. They were able to have a family Thanksgiving dinner, enjoy a visit from Santa, spend time with the Frozen princesses, and finally welcome little brother Graham before heading home to Lynchburg.