Families at KC’s Ronald McDonald House thankful for home away from home this holiday season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some families spent Thanksgiving away from home in a place they never imagined they'd be: the Ronald McDonald House on Cherry Street.

The nonprofit provides lodging, meals and other support services to families while their children receive medical care away from home.

Karen and Les Durst checked into the Ronald McDonald House on Nov. 6. Their daughter Sara was pregnant and the time, and doctors said her unborn daughter had a high heart beat. She would need immediate care at the Children's Mercy Hospital NICU.

"The holiday kind of takes a backseat with a lot of things going on," Les Durst said.

The Dursts' granddaughter, Henley Rose, was born Tuesday. Doctors induced the new mom so they could treat Henley's rapid heart beat directly. She's currently getting IV medication. Her heart beat increases when she cries or fusses.

While mom rests up in the hospital, grandma and grandpa are watching Henley's big brother Madden at the Ronald McDonald House.

"It's been a blessing because we've been so close to the hospital, and it's kind of home away from home," Karen Durst said. "It's kind of been great for our 18-month-old grandson that he can still have places to run and play."

The family hopes baby Henley will be healthy enough to go home by early December.

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