Far from Home


John and Alicia had come a very long way to give birth to their son, Benjamin. They live in a small village outside of Kenya, with their 1-year-old daughter. When they were planning to visit family in Missouri, they decided to schedule it around Alicia’s delivery date. Little did they know how important that decision was. 

“If we would have had these same complications if we gave birth in Africa … they don’t have the medical advancements that we would have needed, said John. “We are very thankful that everything worked out the way it did.”

Both Alicia and John’s careers brought them to Africa, where they met. As many do, they live in a mud house in their village. When they planned their visit to family in Missouri, ultrasounds they had with their doctor didn’t indicate there would be complications with their baby boy. 

Benjamin had issues during labor at Overland Park Regional Medical Center, and got stuck in the birthing canal. When they finally got him out, they were concerned about the lack of oxygen to his brain, and he was diagnosed with a condition called Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Luckily, OPRMC has a level three NICU, and had the ability to treat him so his brain cells could recuperate. John and Alicia were able to stay in the new Ronald McDonald Family Room while they waited and prayed their baby would heal.  

“Having that support in the middle of such a hard time allowed us to be there for Ben. We had no idea how important the Ronald McDonald House is … the personal level of care is incredible,” John said. 

Proximity allowed Alicia to breastfeed Ben when she was able. They were also able to have their family bring their daughter up to see her parents almost every day, and she even hung out with D.O.G. (Director of Goodness) Benson. 

“It was great to have a place to be able to see her even though she couldn’t meet her brother yet,” John said. 

After an 8 night stay in the Ronald McDonald Family Room, Ben was showing signs that his treatments were successful and everything was “normal.” He was released to go with his family to their temporary home in Lee’s Summit. 

After many follow ups with neurologists and development doctors, they hope to return back to their home home in Africa soon.