Gloria Vargas was just 25 weeks pregnant when her water broke. She was sitting in a college classroom next to her sister. Minutes later, her sister was speeding her across the Central Valley to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, 45 minutes away. “I kid you not,” Gloria says, “my sister made it in less than 20.” Her daughter Julissa was born two days later, severely premature and losing a lot of fluid.
Julissa required constant supervision, but the hospital soon informed Gloria that it was time for her to check out. An hour later, Scarlett Sabin, director of the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House, showed up in her room and offered to help. Gloria stayed at the Bakersfield House for 125 days while her daughter received care for a host of complications. “Every night we thought we were going to lose her,” remembers Gloria.
Staying at the Bakersfield House allowed Gloria to bond with and breast feed her new baby during those long, trying months. The staff were wonderful and helped Gloria find information online about her daughter’s treatment. Today, Julissa is 6 years-old and the youngest athlete on her school’s track team. She’s also a loving big sister to her younger siblings, Nicholas (4) and Abbygail (3), and later this year...twins!