In March of 2014, the Perez family was startled when eight-year old Bernice started to feel pain in her left wrist. After their doctor sent her for testing, they were horrified to learn that her pain was caused by a cancerous synovial sarcoma tumor.

It was a nightmare! Bernice’s mother, Joann, says she was stunned when they learned Bernice would need two months of radiation treatment in Lubbock. Being from Hobbs, New Mexico, “We didn’t know where to go at first,” says Joann. “We were left wondering what to do and where to go.” The thought of affording a hotel was overwhelming to the family.

Thankfully, Joann has a friend who knew the mission of the Ronald McDonald House and suggested that she talk with the hospital staff in Lubbock about getting a room.

Bernice and Joann were able to stay at the house while Bernice underwent the treatments for her cancer.

Oscar, Bernice’s father, remained in Hobbs to work and stay with her brother and sister while they attended school. They joined Bernice and Joann in Lubbock on weekends. At the Ronald McDonald House they were able to enjoy warm meals and comfortable beds, as well as form connections with other families in similar situations.

During the day, Joann could take breaks in the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the hospital. The Family Rooms are extensions of the Ronald McDonald House and allow loved ones to remain only a heartbeat away from their sick child.

Bernice underwent thirty-one sessions of radiation. The sessions caused her wrist to painfully peel and blister, making things very exhausting. “It was nice to have a place to recover when she was feeling so down,” Joann tells us.

After two months they were able to return home to Hobbs, but they often come back to stay during Bernice’s follow-ups. Joann states that The Ronald McDonald House “means so much to us and when we’re here we feel like, you know, we’re home,” she explains. “It’s kind of like our second home!”

“Bernice is doing really well.” Joann tells us, “We were devastated at the beginning, and it’s a blessing that you offer this house for families during their time of need. Our family truly thanks you.”