Mau Family

Heart, Healing, Home

April 26th, 2024

In February of 2023, five-year-old Nicolas was admitted to Children’s Wisconsin for Congestive Heart Failure, underlying cause, Dilated Cardiomyopathy. After staying two nights with him in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), the Mau family was referred to Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin. After 25 days in the hospital, Nicolas was released with medical management.

Just two months later, the Maus were back for an indefinite stay. When Nicolas’ heart went into total failure, doctors implanted a left ventricular assist device (LVAD or Berlin Heart) as a bridge to transplant, helping him survive until he could receive a donor heart.

Nicolas waited seven months for his new heart and our Ronald McDonald House was home for the Mau family during that time. Mom, Lisa, was grateful to have a place where her family could rest, shower, eat and find respite – something as simple as having laundry facilities and detergent was a relief. While she enjoyed the Secret Garden, Nicolas’ siblings, Ariel and Christopher, burned excess energy in the Game Room, the Tree Fort and on the playground. RMHC made the day brighter with an extra token for the Magic Room.

When the family was together at the House, they enjoyed snuggling with Murphy, McNugget and other Pet Therapy friends. There was shock and awe the first time they witnessed Sawdust, a pony, in the Great Room. During the summer, the Maus made precious memories at local attractions, thanks to passes from RMHC.

Thanks to generous donors, dad, Ron, was able to take Christopher to a Milwaukee Brewers game. They enjoyed America’s favorite pastime from seats in the third row, right behind home plate. On another occasion, Ron and Ariel received tickets for a Green Bay Packers game. “In the middle of a medical crisis, the healthy siblings don’t always get the attention that they so desperately need. These opportunities created unforgettable memories and one-on-one parent time the kids needed to offset the fear of the unknown that they were feeling,” recalls Lisa.

Our Ronald McDonald House kept the Mau family together and close to the critical care Nicolas needed for a total of 233 nights. Lisa shared, “I could write pages and pages about Ronald McDonald House Charities and the impact it has had on our family during our son’s medical crisis and recovery. We are eternally indebted to the organization, the staff, the volunteers, to every person who donates to help keep this facility running. In our family’s darkest hour, RMHC was a beacon of light, allowing moments of escape and a safe space to process our feelings of despair. It truly is ‘The House that Love Built’.”

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