Cloud’s Journey

“It is great for Cloud to be at the Ronald McDonald House. It gives him stability and normalcy in an unusual circumstance.”  – Sloane, RMHC Mom

Around the time their son, Cloud, was getting ready to celebrate his third birthday, Sloane and Carlyle Kirbo noticed he was having difficulty walking. Concerned with what they saw, they took him to see his physician who then referred him to a specialist in Atlanta. Two weeks later, Cloud was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease.

Leaving their home in Southern Georgia, the family of three began a journey that would next take them to Pittsburgh. “This is a very rare disease and we needed to come here to see an expert,” said Carlyle.

Once there, Cloud received a bone marrow transplant. His parents were relieved to be able to stay so close to him at the Ronald McDonald House Pittsburgh.

“It is really nice to be connected to the hospital,” said Sloane. “We don’t even have to go outside.”

Several weeks after his transplant, Cloud was able to join his parents at the Ronald McDonald House. He continues to see his physician and therapists at the hospital and once his central line is removed, he will be able to go home. But until then, he can be with his mom and dad at the House.

“It is great for Cloud to be at the Ronald McDonald House. It gives him stability and normalcy in an unusual circumstance,” said Sloane.

The apartment-style setting at the Ronald McDonald House has been perfect for the Kirbo family. Due to Cloud having a suppressed immune system, he is not able to be around others at this time. The Ronald McDonald House gives him his own space to play with his favorite toys. And his mom will tell you that those are his cars and trucks.

His parents are also appreciative of having their own kitchenette in their apartment.  “Cloud is on a strict diet and it gives us the space to prepare all of his special meals and to store them separately in our own refrigerator,” said Sloane.

Not knowing if they would be home for the holidays, Clouds’s parents were worried about how they would celebrate. The Ronald McDonald House put those worries to ease.

“It is amazing what they do for the families during that time of year with all of the meals and presents,” said Carlyle.

Each year, the Ronald McDonald House sets up a special room that allows families who can’t be home during the holidays to choose gifts for their children. When Carlyle visited the toy room, he picked a fire truck for his son that lights up and makes noise. Cloud loved it.  “It was the best present for sure,” said Sloane with tears in her eyes.

It has been nearly six months since the Kirbo family left their home. They are grateful that the Ronald McDonald House is here.

“No one ever thinks they will need it,” said Sloane. “It is our home-away-from-home.”