Seven-year-old Rylee’s stay at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has become routine and familiar to her, but it isn’t quite the same as the 50-acre farm she’s used to in her home state of West Virginia. The team at Nationwide Children’s discovered that Rylee’s heart was aging too quickly and that she needed a heart transplant, so now she and her family are in Columbus, waiting.
They admit that being away from home long term adds another dimension of difficulty to the wait; Rylee’s grandfather needs to go back to West Virginia once each week for work. He says, “It makes you not want to leave because you just know, just any day, any minute, any second, they’re going to come in and say ‘we have a heart’.” He can’t wait to get Rylee home post-transplant, to get her back to her normal lifestyle.
Rylee’s family appreciates the care they’ve received at Nationwide Children’s. Her grandfather says, “Rylee is well taken care of. Her doctors explain everything that’s going on to us and that means a lot.” He adds, “The nurses even threw her a big birthday party, and all of them came: even some of them who weren’t working. I can’t think of a better place for her to be than this hospital because they do a super job.” The experience isn’t lost on Rylee, either: she asks a lot of questions about her treatment and is learning so much that her family thinks she might study to be a nurse herself someday.
While they wait for Rylee’s new heart, her family is focusing on the positives. Her grandfather describes her as a girl who lights up any room she enters, and says, “You never know when you or one of your kids will be where we are. I’ve never loved anything as much as I love this girl. She’s my best buddy.”