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STL house gives families hope during life-altering surgeries

When you buy a quarter pounder at McDonald's June 14-17, 25 cents will be donated toward the Ronald McDonald family room renovation.

ST. LOUIS — If you've ever experienced life with a sick or disabled child, you know how emotionally and financially draining it can be. It's for that reason, The Ronald McDonald House exists. It gives families who come from all over the world a home away home from here in St. Louis.

Just picking out a pair of shoes for 9-year-old Brody Linnell can be a real challenge.

"We have to wait a few months to get this lift on," Brody said as he pointed to the heel on his left shoe.

Brody was born with Fibulia Hemimelia. His left leg is 2 and a half inches shorter than his right.

He explained, "They put this fixator on my leg where they pretty much just put these pins and this cage on it."

This surgery is what brought the Linnell family from Omaha to St. Louis. They're staying at The Ronald McDonald house for 2 months while Brody receives his treatment.

"Just having this place to come to after going to the hospital a couple times a week, it does it feels like a home away from home," said Brody’s mom Megan.

Rachael Butler and her 16-year-old son Orson traveled from Belize to get a life changing surgery at Shriner’s Hospital.

"It's going to be a long journey for us," said mom Rachael.

“He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of 2 and a half,” she explained.

With this procedure, the Butler's hope Orson will be able to stand and eventually take steps on his own.

Rachael keeps a journal of Orson's daily exercises.

"We already started on the right leg so we have nine more hours left," explained Rachael as she showed her journal entries.

It's a lot for a mother and son to go through while being thousands of miles away from the rest of their family and they'll be here through the end of this year. Still, they're staying positive.

"The way it’s looking, it’s looking very fine to me," smiled Racahel.

The hope is that by the time Brody and Orson leave St. Louis they'll walk out of the Ronald McDonald House. It’s the place that’s offered them so much support at a time they needed it most.

Rachael said, "It's a blessing for everybody that stays here."

A fundraiser happening right now at all area McDonald’s, called 'Small change. Big difference.' The fundraiser will aim to help renovate the family room at St. Louis Children's Hospital. When you buy a quarter pounder at McDonald’s June 14-17, 25 cents will be donated toward the Ronald McDonald family room renovation.