The Papa Family

Julieanne and Tyrus Papa never realized how precious two weeks could be until their daughter Brooklyn was born.

Their third child, Brooklyn presented with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was rushed to Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) shortly after she was born. Julianne followed her daughter to CHOC and checked into the Orange County Ronald McDonald House the same day.

During their family’s stay, the Papa’s two other children, ages 4 and 6 years old, were able to visit Brooklyn and then use the play area of Ronald McDonald House family room to catch up as a family. Julianne, on the other, spent her days by Brooklyn’s side, taking the shuttle between the Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House for dinner and again at night to sleep.

Brooklyn Papa proved to be a fighter in her young age. She had her first open heart surgery at five days old. A week later doctors were amazed at her recovery and were preparing the family to take her home within a week. Unfortunately, at just 14 days old, Brooklyn took a sudden turn for the worse and passed away. The Papa family remains grateful to have been able to spend time with their daughter by her side instead of on the freeway travelling back and forth from home to the hospital.

The staff of the Orange County Ronald McDonald House were by their side not only during Brooklyn’s short life, but also presented the family with a butterfly wind chime and planted a flower garden in her memory. The Papa family are thankful for the two weeks they were allowed to share with Brooklyn and grateful to the Orange County Ronald McDonald House for the time they were able to save in being so close to her side.