Cutline: Brian Fish, with Lucie, and Heidi, with Alida, in the NICU. Lucie has been discharged from the NICU, and Alida is due to go home soon. Although still facing heart surgery for a VSD heart defect, her prognosis is good.
Heidi and Brian Fish, of Wausau, knew a couple of years ago that they wanted to donate a decorated cake to the recent 2013 Ronald McDonald fundraiser “Sweet Affaire,” which is only held once every five years. Little did they know then that their donation would be even more meaningful.
Brian’s father Ron has been the owner/operator of the Marshfield McDonald’s Restaurant for 40 years, and Brian is the “next generation” owner/operator. So he is well aware of the Ronald McDonald House being a “home away from home” for out-of-town parents of children and infants being treated at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. In July, the couple could identify with them.
On July 24, Heidi delivered via C-section identical twin girls Lucie and Alida. At 29 weeks gestation, Lucie weighed only 2 pounds, 11 ounces, and Alida, one pound, eight ounces. Both were immediately admitted to the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The early delivery was necessitated by “Twin to Twin-Transfer Syndrome” (TTTS), a condition in which the blood passes unequally between identical twins that share a placenta. With TTTS, the smaller twin, (in this case Alida,) pumps blood to the larger twin, (in this case Lucie), causing the larger twin to receive too much blood and the smaller one to receive too little.
The couple have been constant visitors to the NICU ever since.
“I’ve had a connection with the Ronald McDonald House for 30 years,” Brian said. “And with us living an hour away we were the perfect candidates to stay there. But since my parents live in Marshfield, we stayed with them instead. But we realize that others don’t have that advantage, and now know first-hand how important it is to stay close enough to the hospital to be with your baby or child.”
With all that was going on with their daughters, they first didn’t know if Heidi would be able to make, decorate and donate her “Haunted Pumpkin Night” cake. But in the end, she found the time. “The donation meant more to us after going through all of this,” Brian said. “We were able to go to the event and her cake ended up raising $2,100. It was fun to be a part of such a worthy cause.”
And that wasn’t the only donation. The Ronald McDonald statue now standing in the House’s front yard was also donated by the Fish family. It had been a part of the Marshfield McDonald’s restaurant that has been torn down, to be replaced by a new facility. “We had a lot of offers from folks who wanted to buy it, but we felt it was a better fit where it is now,” Brian said.