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Celebrating the holidays away from home at the Ronald McDonald House

"I'm so thankful that the Ronald McDonald House has blessed us with that home feeling," says one guest.

Posted: Dec 19, 2018 6:04 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 7:13 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Jorgensons, a family from Thief River Falls, have lived at the Ronald McDonald House for 18 months. Their 17-year-old son Kallen's body shut down due to septic shock and he needed a heart surgery, amputations of his hands and feet, and dialysis. Despite Kallen's fight, the Jorgensons have a lot to be thankful for this year.
"When your life feels like a mess and everything is all upside down and in a tizzy, it is so comforting to be here at the Ronald McDonald House," says Kallen's mother, Jennifer Jorgenson.
The Ronald McDonald House is decked out in Christmas decor and staff try to make the holiday season a little extra merry and bright for families staying there.
"It's really difficult for families to be away from home any time of year, but especially during the holiday season so we try to find additional family activities, additional ways to just remind them that people are thinking of them, that they have a lot to be thankful for even though there are some difficult times going on," says communications director Jacob Dreyer.
"Every day we have a day brightener or something little in our mailbox that just totally gets your mind off of what you've experienced in the hospital," adds Jorgenson.
The Jorgensons will not be spending another Christmas Day at the Ronald McDonald House. They are closing on a house in Rochester on Friday, which Jennifer says they have mixed emotions about. While sad to leave Thief River Falls, they are feeling blessed to be home for the holidays, in a way.
"I am so thankful that we will be able to have a home and be able to be close and be able to bring Kallen home eventually and I'm so thankful that the Ronald McDonald House has blessed us with that home feeling," she says.
Last year, the Jorgensons were advised to bring Kallen home for the holidays on hospice. This Christmas, they plan to sing Christmas carols with him in the hospital and bring him to their new home in the new year.

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