In June 2008, the Martinez family welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Alexander. Mom, Liliana, and Dad, Jorge, along with older sister, Victoria, were overjoyed. However, shortly after Alex was born, Liliana and Jorge were told the unexpected news that Alex had microtia and atresia. Microtia is a congenital deformity affecting the outer ear and is very often accompanied by atresia. Atresia is the absence or closure of the external ear canal. Alex’s family was so in love with their new child and sibling, but at the same time scared about what this would mean for his future.
As Alex grew and enjoyed an otherwise healthy childhood, Liliana and Jorge knew the time would come for reconstructive surgery. That time came in 2018 when Alex was 10 years old. Dr. Sheryl Lewin at the Cove Surgery Center in Torrance worked with Alex’s parents on a proposed treatment plan, and the decision to move forward with surgery. Because the Martinez family live in Chicago, the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House was a significant piece of that decision. Liliana and Jorge knew that they would need a place to call home where they could support Alex during his surgeries and recovery.
“We were so nervous about his surgeries,” says Liliana. “We knew it would be a long year for our family.”
Liliana, Jorge, Victoria, and Alex arrived in California for Alex’s first surgery in July 2018. The Long Beach Ronald McDonald House provided a welcome distraction for Alex before his surgery; he was excited about staying at a house that had a playroom and meeting other children he could play with!
Alex’s surgery went as planned and so the family returned in October 2018 for a final procedure, which was also successful.
“The Ronald McDonald House helped us feel comfortable for both of my son’s surgeries. During our second visit to California for his second surgery, Alex met a little boy that was having the same surgery he had. They became fast friends and wanted to play together all the time. Even though we were going through a hard time our family was able to be together and make some great memories,” Liliana says.