“Love comes in all shapes and sizes”
For Kami Anderson, that size had to be at least 6’4”tall.
In middle school, Kami started playing volleyball as middle block. She was good at it, continuing to play in both high school and at BYU in Idaho. An athlete from Florida State University came to visit a friend who attended BYU. When she met Kami, she was sure she knew the “right someone” for her. Playing matchmaker, an introduction was made. When Kami met “him”, the two immediately saw eye-to-eye.
At 7’ tall, David was a star on FSU’s basketball team. Courting, they learned they shared their faith, the pursuit of healthy lifestyles and a deep love for one another. Soon, they were married and were praying for a large family. It was 30 months after they said, “I do” that their two became three when son, Bridger, was born. They were ecstatic! In 2008, Bridger was joined by Brother Jackson, born six weeks premature.
From Lamar, Colorado, the Andersons were thrilled to be able to stay at our Ronald McDonald House, being so near Jackson as the best medical professionals cared for issues related to premature birth and breathing problems.
Meeting the Anderson family’s needs – housing that was mere steps away from their small son, in addition to providing emotional support and meals – fulfills our mission of “lifting children and families in need to a better tomorrow”. Kami said being near Jackson’s side was vital to not only his healing and well-being, but also both her and David’s.
Awakened in the middle of the night, Kami intuitively felt a strong prompt to “GO!” Walking to the NICU she was by Jackson’s side when he suddenly began to fail; her tiny son with breathing problems had simply quit breathing. Alarms were blaring, and Jackson was turning blue. A team of medical professionals rushed in, reviving him and administering a CPR emergency vent. “Looking back, although it was really scary, I’m glad I was there.” She paused and added, “That moment was weighty. It has given me much to reflect on with the preciousness of each moment we’re given with those we love.”
Jackson is a walking miracle. Now 7, “he plays every sport, takes art and piano lessons and participates in Cub Scouts.” Kami said. He also loves eating healthily and cooking for his family. Kami contributes MUCH of his healing to her being present and available for him when he was so small and required around the clock care. “Staying at the House was awesome! It helped me to feel like a normal person.”
Fast forward to the evening of December 10th, when the doorbell rang – the familiar faces of Kami and David were on our front porch. Now parents of FIVE boys, (Bridger, 9, Jackson, 7, Talmadge, 6 and Kahler, 2), their youngest son, Knox, was born seven weeks premature on 12.9.14. While Knox was in the NICU, the Anderson’s were again receiving the best care our staff and volunteers can provide. Kami’s heart has been enlarged by the ongoing support they’ve received, but none more than the gift of togetherness. Their family was with us for 39 days and nights, including over Christmas and New Year’s. Receiving Christmas presents for their five boys (and she and David) from our Christmas Store “was a huge blessing for our family. We were so thankful!”
Kami said. “Being able to stay here, again, has been a huge stress relief. There’s no way we could have afforded a hotel for nearly 40 nights. For me, there’s so much reassurance knowing I’m right here. I spend as much time as I can with Knox, providing love and kangaroo care to help in his healing.” She added, “Honestly, I think the hours of skin on skin contact contribute to how well he’s doing.” Kami shared, “Since our last stay with you, the Ronald McDonald Family Room was new to me. It was such a gift – whether I used it for facilities, to eat or to find support.” Kami recalled, “I remember one day, after receiving difficult news in the NICU, I went to the Family Room to gather myself. When my tears began to fall, the volunteer listened and provided a safe place for me in my sadness.”
Kami said, “There was comfort and security at the House for me and my family. I felt safe and well cared for. Having our own room, beds and space really made it feel like ‘home’.” And, from the bounty given, Kami has provided support for other families staying at the House, sharing her gift of perspective. “I know what it feels like to be in the midst. It feels like that’s the truest thing; that it will be like that forever. Thankfully, it won’t.”
David agrees. Kami calls her husband ‘her rock’. While he spent much of the last 39 days and nights in Lamar caring for their other boys (even during bouts of flu), he was thankful to know Kami’s emotional and physical safety were being taken care of while staying at our House.
Anxious for Knox’s release and to get home to her family, Kami smiled. “It’s pure GLORY… definitely, ‘mad chaos’!” Each of their boys is “energetic and excitable”, (and TALL! Bridger, at 9, is 5’4” with no sign of slowing down!) “They each have a big personality”. We’re delighted that once Kami and David’s eyes met, they’ve never looked back. It’s a privilege to witness the Anderson’s living out the very slice of Heaven Kami and David prayed for 12 years ago.