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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You wouldn’t know it by looking at this happy, energetic little guy, but 4-year-old Finn has congenital heart disease. He was only 12 weeks old when he had his first open-heart surgery, and since then, he’s had 13 other surgical procedures.
“He has the congenital heart disease because of a syndrome called heterotaxy, so not just his heart, but a lot of his other organs were affected,” said Finn’s mother, Kelly Blumenthal. “His brain was affected, his bowels, his lungs.”
When Finn was 2, his family turned to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, hoping to find him the best possible care.
“CHOP was a game changer for our family,” said Blumenthal.
But each visit means driving several hours from their home in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
“So far this year, I wanna say we’ve been here at least four or five times,” said Blumenthal.
Finn’s mom says there’s one place that has helped make those frequent hospital visits much easier to tolerate.
“Being in the Ronald McDonald House, is honestly like coming home,” said Blumenthal. “There’s nothing but positive vibes and positive feelings when we come in seeing the staff and other families and just being surrounded by a lot of love and support.”
And Finn loves being here too.
“So, Finn gets a little bit of PTSD when he goes to the hospital, but when he comes to the Ronald McDonald House, he gets very excited,” said Blumenthal.
Finn was excited to show CBS3 around the Ronald McDonald House in Camden. While Blumenthal is grateful for the great care Finn gets at CHOP, she’s thankful to have a place to retreat.
“So, going through this experience, staying at the Ronald McDonald House definitely makes the journey a lot easier. You always have a safe place here and sometimes when you’re in the hospital for a long time, the walls are very, very tight, so it’s nice to be able to breathe and come to a place like this facility where you truly can breathe and just relax and put things in perspective,” said Blumenthal.