Sharing a Safe Haven - The Warrens Family Story

Sharing a Safe Haven (The Warrens Family Story)

April 19th, 2023

Shortly after her 2nd birthday, Lydia Warrens was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK). A rare diagnosis, CCSK represents 2-4% of all renal cancer diagnoses in children and can quickly spread from the kidney to other organs, including the bone, lungs, brain and soft tissues.

Lydia and her mom, Sara, were transported via helicopter from Green Bay to Children’s Wisconsin in September 2022. Over the next eight months, Lydia would receive 10 cycles of chemotherapy over 30 weeks, six days of radiation and surgery to remove her kidney and the tumor.

As if this wasn’t stressful enough, Sara was undergoing oral chemotherapy for a low-grade brain tumor. With two immunocompromised people navigating medical concerns – during a pandemic – the Warrens became secluded from the outside world. Jake, shared, “The Ronald McDonald House® is filled with medically fragile families. This was reassuring as we were always concerned about Lydia catching something that could hurt her immune compromised body. It felt ‘safe’ to be in an environment with others who had similar concerns for their children.”

Although Bennett’s visits were limited due to the hospital’s COVID mandates, our Ronald McDonald House made it possible for him to tag along for some of Lydia’s treatments. He loved the Game Room, unlimited supply of “freezee pops” and being with his family. The Magic Room was a special bonus.

Jake fondly recalls, “We didn’t expect to feel at ease so quickly. You never felt like you were judged, taking something you shouldn’t have, or asking a silly question. The mission of keeping families together was definitely evident and well-met for us.”

The Warrens are passionate about giving back to RMHC® and describe it as a “very fun blessing that they never expected.” Here’s a list of the good things they have accomplished to support our mission as a result of Lydia’s journey.

  1. Bennett’s 1st grade class perfected their counting skills by collecting pop tabs.
  2. Jake’s cousin brought awareness and collected a couple hundred pounds of pop tabs through a pop tab collection party.
  3. Lydia’s army pulled together over 304 fruit cups and 792 granola bars in response to our Wish List Wednesday request shared by the Warrens’ after one of their first stays.
  4. More than $2,800 for pediatric cancer research and another $2,500 worth of toys, blankets and snacks were collected through the Warrens’ lemonade stand last June.
  5. Sara’s college roommate led her summer school class in a grab ‘n go snack bag project, complete with encouraging messages for families.
  6. One of Jake’s patients made more than 30 quilts for our families.
  7. The Warrens household is a pop tab hub for their family and friends. It isn’t uncommon for them to come home to a bag of pop tabs on their porch.
  8. Sara’s work sponsored a golf outing that raised just under $4,000 to support RMHC.

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