Round Lake toddler with series of medical issues goes home for 1st time since birth

The young girl spent the first two years of her life at Lurie Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Chicago
ROUND LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Ronald McDonald House Chicago had been home to 2-year-old Abby and her family, but Wednesday she got to actually go home.

The toddler has a series of medical issues, some she has had since before birth.

With surgery and treatment at Lurie Children's Hospital and a transitional stay at the Ronald McDonald House Almost Home Kids Program, she is able to leave and finally go home for the first time since she was born.

"I can say I've gained another family, it's been wonderful being here," said Abby's mother, Kaitlynn Cox.

While Abby was getting care, her mother stayed at Ronald McDonald House, where Cox has lived for 721 days - the longest stay at the facility.

"They've been so supportive in so many ways with me being able to come and stay every other weekend," said Abby's grandmother, Carrie Chesters. "I've had a place to stay."

"In this case, it has been so long and so challenging for them to get to the point where they can depart as a family unit. It is so special," said Lisa Mitchell with the Ronald McDonald House of Chicago.

"We've enjoyed our stay here but now we get to live our lives outside of the city. It's going to be amazing, I'm so excited," Cox said.

The day marks the first time Abby will see her home in Round Lake.

"It's terrifying and excited at the same time because we are responsible for keeping this little girl alive. Being on a ventilator, that's something that's very intimidating," Chesters said

"We did have some scary moments but she is proving everybody wrong," Cox added. "It's been a long journey and I think it's just the beginning."

"Now we get to start this new chapter and I can't wait! I'm looking forward to all of it," Chesters said.

They hope she will get stronger and eventually be able to breathe without assistance, as well as learn to walk.

For now, however, Abby still requires 24 hours care, and her family and nurses will support her in her own home.
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