“We’re all connected and we’re all a family”
On March 20, 2016, Camden Irene entered the world. She was the third daughter born to Andrew and Vanessa and she was beautiful. Big sisters Carly and Claire celebrated her arrival but soon Camden would start to show signs of distress. After days of testing, the hospital would realize she needed to be transferred to a facility that could better care for whatever was wrong with her. So off Camden went, by ambulance, to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan as her mom and dad followed behind.
Camden was diagnosed with Total Colonic Hirschsprung Disease. Hirschsprung disease occurs when some of the nerve cells that are normally present in the wall of the intestine do not form properly during fetal development. This abnormality led to immediate surgery for little Camden and whole new world of hospital living for Andrew and Vanessa. As Camden recovered in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, a very kind nurse pointed an exhausted and alone Andrew and Vanessa toward the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit.
After Irma sneaked them through registration right at closing time, Andrew and Vanessa were able to take a hot shower and get a good night’s rest for the first time in days. That was the first thing that helped “slow down the runaway train” that they had been on since Camden’s birth. The next day they were welcomed into the RMH Family and treated to a home-cooked breakfast and a full House tour. They were no longer alone.
Andrew and Vanessa remained just a short shuttle ride from Camden as she spent two months in the NICU, gaining weight and getting stronger. Finally, on May 19, 2016, Camden was discharged and the Manning family reunited. Andrew and Vanessa continue to be great advocates for the House, making sure everyone knows that sometimes a single night’s rest and a home cooked meal is all it takes to start to heal the broken soul of a parent discouraged by their child’s health.