Family standing in front of a sign that says 'family'

The Strength of a Family: Breia’s Story

“She has a twinkle in her eye, like she just wants to tell you something,” Marlena says of her newborn daughter, Breia. “She has Dad wrapped around her finger already.” Besides appreciating her sassy personality, Breia’s family has also quickly learned one of her greatest qualities – her perseverance.

After being born at 32 weeks and weighing 2 pounds, 3 ounces, Breia has already gone through many medical procedures, including a blood transfusion. Through it all, she has shown great strength. “She’s only three weeks old, but she’s just showing us she’s strong,” Marlena said.

While Breia is embracing her inner strength and growing every day, Marlena, her dad, Terrance, and brothers Makaio and George are finding theirs just steps away at the Ronald McDonald House. Away from their home in Whiteriver, Arizona, the family cherishes the proximity to their newest addition. “I’m glad we could stay at Ronald McDonald House,” Marlena said. “I know that we’re just a short distance away from my daughter. Breia needs us here.”

Beyond ensuring that the family is never far from Breia’s bedside, the House is also a place for them to find family time outside of the hospital. While her brothers enjoy playing on the playground at the House, they also make sure her presence is known at their “home-away-from-home.” “When Makaio comes, the first thing he notices is the Ronald McDonald on the bench,” Marlena shares. “Every day we would come sit by Ronald and he would say, ‘Hi! Breia is doing good.’ ”

The daily updates to Ronald also serve as a reminder to Marlena of just how much togetherness means for her family right now. “Just having her brothers here with us is something special because they get to see her and talk to her, just being able to be beside her bedside with us,” Marlena said. “I’m glad I have their support.” And Ronald McDonald House is also there to support the family on their journey.