As a mother, Bethany Schultz knew something was wrong. An active child, Audrey only wanted to lie around the house. She complained about her stomach hurting, but nothing else. After several visits to her pediatrician in Jacksonville, Bethany took her to the Emergency Room. Blood tests revealed a host of possibilities, so Audrey was transferred to James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville.
“Saturday morning, the Doctor walked in,” remembers Bethany. “His face was somewhat pale and his first question was ‘Do you have family around?’. I said my husband (Barry) is in Jacksonville. He said ‘Your daughter has leukemia’. I said Oh God. He continued to talk, and when he stopped, I asked if he would help me tell my husband. I called him and all I could say is she has leukemia, and dropped the phone. The doctor picked it up and talked with my husband.”
The next two days were spent gathering family around for support. Audrey was able to have her parents, her uncle, Nana, Grandma and Pappy beside her. Dad, a diesel mechanic in the Marines, was given leave. It was very hard for Audrey’s younger brother who didn’t understand what was happening.
Monday was the hardest. A surgery to complete a bone marrow autopsy was followed by another to insert a port for medication.
The Ronald McDonald House was there for them during their 2-3 week stay in Greenville. Being two hours away, travelling back and forth would’ve been very stressful and meant long periods of time away from Audrey.
“We loved staying there,” says Mom. “They have a room downstairs for families such as ours with a TV, refrigerator, microwave and also a Jacuzzi tub. Audrey loved this; it helped with the neuropathy in her legs.
Audrey is doing great now and the family prays she will beat this disease. She has about 18 more months of treatments before the journey is complete. Most of the treatments are day trips, but the Ronald McDonald House will be waiting across the street if they need it.