Love Has No Limits
by Lindsey Sharp
As the Community Outreach intern at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, I was prepared for a lot of administrative duties such as writing press releases, running errands, and helping prepare for special events. What I was not prepared for was meeting a person who would inspire me and change my outlook on life in so many ways.
The story began when I was assigned to interview the Redington Family. Heather Redington and her three children, Zoe, Zanna, and Zion were staying at the House for only a week. I immediately fell in love with the whole family. The children were filled with excitement, giving me hugs and taking goofy pictures with my camera! I also got to meet a unique little fellow named “Little Zion” and this is when I realized just how special this family was and how blessed I was to have met them.
The Redington Family were no strangers to the Ronald McDonald House. In fact, before moving to Franklin, Tennessee 6 years ago, Heather and her children were guests of the Ronald McDonald House in Orange County, California where Zoe was having open heart surgery. Heather loved the atmosphere of the Ronald McDonald House. She loved it so much that she started cooking for the House and volunteering in her spare time. Little did Heather know, she and her children would be making another trip to the Ronald McDonald House. But this time, across the country, in Lexington, Kentucky. “The kids could not wait to go back to Ronald McDonald House,” said Heather. The House is definitely the Redington’s “home away from home.”
Heather and her 12 year old daughter, Zoe, 7 year old daughter, Zanna, and 6 year old son, Zion checked in at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass in early March. During their stay, they would be making daily trips to Shriner’s Hospital just a few miles down the road. Here, Zion would be receiving his brand new, prosthetic legs. Zion was born with only one finger on each hand and one toe on each foot. This disease is known as Ectrodactyly. The doctor’s at Shriner’s thought it would be best to amputate Zion’s feet due to the pain that they were causing him when he walked on them. Heather explained to me how fearful Zion was about the operation. “I am going to miss my feet”, said Zion to his mother before the operation. Leading up to the operation on December 21st, 2012, Heather made Zion a doll that looked just like him. She took a Cabbage Patch Kid and dressed him up as a superhero. Once Zion had his surgery, she cut off the dolls feet and they named him “Little Zion.”
Zion received his prosthetic legs and feet from Shriner’s Hospital on March 4th, 2013. Amazingly, he was walking the very same day. “The doctor told me that this was very unusual for children”, said Heather. Although this was a breakthrough day for Zion, it was a long day too. “Mom, I just want to go home to Ronald McDonald House,” proclaimed Zion. Everyone at the House could not believe that the boy who had arrived in a wheelchair, was now walking on his brand new legs! Of course that same day “Little Zion” received his brand new legs as well as matching shoes!
The Redington’s are now back in their hometown of Tennessee. Currently, Heather and Zion are training to run 2.6 miles together in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee.
I never expected to have such a touching experience being an intern at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass, but the Redington Family proved me wrong. Heather is an amazing mother who definitely understands that love has no limits. The love she has for her children reflects that and I feel so blessed to have met her.