A voice for families in need

While many of us are able to stay put, sheltering in at home and transitioning our day-to-day task list to one that affords us an opportunity to avoid contact with others and decrease our chances of getting ill, it is a luxury that just isn’t possible for so many people in so many different lines of work. From the medical professionals to first responders, law enforcement and firefighters, service industry personnel, grocery store and warehouse workers, IT technicians to name a few…these are the dedicated and courageous forces going into battle each day so that the rest of us don’t have to do so, doing their part to help our world continue to run during these hectic and crazy times.

One of these many selfless and committed individuals is our good friend, Veronica Prosser. Veronica is a social worker at Northwest Texas Healthcare System in the Children’s Hospital. She also happens to be one of our loudest voices as an ambassador in the community and an advocate in our city’s growing medical sector. As a social worker at one of our area’s largest medical facilities, she sees the need for a home away from home for families with sick kids, firsthand each day. Veronica and her incredible team at NWTHS are the ones who get acquainted with and make referrals for all of the families at the hospital with pediatric patients and early babies to be able to come stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their child receives treatment.

Veronica was born in Corpus Christi, but has long considered Amarillo to be home. She was also a student in the first graduating class of the master’s program in social work at WTAMU. In addition to the hundreds of families she refers to our House every year, Veronica’s own family has been in a situation where they were able to benefit from our services firsthand when her youngest son Jake was born premature and spent 5 days in the NICU. They used the Ronald McDonald Family Room during that time, which is now a place she walks past every day while working as the social worker for NWTHS Children’s Hospital.

“My favorite thing about the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room are the staff and volunteers. Families are greeted with smiles and warmth. I like to tell people, there is the family that you are born into and then there is the family that you create with some of your favorite people’.”

We temporarily closed the Family Room this past month in order to do our part in helping to flatten the curve and keep our volunteers safe during this time, and that has ended up becoming the single-most part of Veronica’s daily routine that she misses right now…seeing the families and interacting with our amazing volunteers.

While Veronica is considered essential personnel as a pediatric social worker, she has continued going to work to continue helping families in need. But when she’s not working, she’s doing her part to practice social distancing and has enjoyed catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, true crime shows, and soon plans on streaming the new Trolls movie with her family. Veronica has a house full of boys, and looks the most forward to being able to take them all to the movies once the pandemic passes. She misses the movie theater popcorn!

It’s because of her own personal experience with a NICU warrior in her family combined with the stories she hears everyday from the families that she is able to refer to our House that she feels so much passion for the mission at the Ronald McDonald House.

“I am a HUGE community supporter of the Ronald McDonald House and Family Room because I see the families that it impacts! Lots of the families that I refer have babies that are in the NICU or children that were hurt in accidents and/or are very sick. The families are looking for some sort of normalcy and comfort. The Ronald McDonald House and Family room meet their needs every day!”

Veronica’s favorite dish at McDonald’s is the legendary McRib, and chances are good that you might just run into her in line waiting to order one when it makes its return.

Thank you for continuing to serve our community and advocate for families with sick kids during this crazy time! As a community, we realize now more than ever just how “essential” the contributions of ALL of our area’s medical staff are during these trying times and appreciate you taking risks by going to work each day so that many of us are able to stay home.