Josh’s story: A world of change overnight

Joshua wasn’t feeling good the day before Easter and, to his parent’s horror, began throwing up blood. “That was our terrifying beginning to all of this,” Tammy Heeringa, Joshua’s mom, said. Paramedics were called and he was rushed from their small rural town in Payette, Idaho, to the nearest hospital before being transferred to a bigger hospital in Boise. 

The surgeon in Boise was able to make Joshua stable, but they were not able to treat him long-term.  While there his parents learned that Joshua had portal hypertension (the cause of which was unknown at the time).  The doctors quickly made the decision to Transfer Joshua to Seattle for further care.

“We literally went from normal, to suddenly, three ambulance rides and a life flight landing here in Seattle and we haven’t been home since,” Tammy said. “Everything happened super quick and I’m normally pretty good at rolling with the punches.” 

Tammy was familiar with the House because she and her team skated in the RMHC Hockey Challenge several years ago, but she never imagined she and her family would experience the benefits of the RMHC services firsthand.

Losing stability and routine overnight, on top of worrying about your sick child, tosses even the most secure families into chaos. 

Josh and his family know he will need surgery on his liver, but his treatment plan changes daily. With so much uncertainty, The Heeringa’s had few housing options. Staying at a friend’s house with no precise timeline wasn’t an option, and paying to stay at a hotel wasn’t possible. RMHC has been the perfect solution for their family.

“Our life can’t move on until Joshua gets surgery,” she said. “My husband keeps traveling from home over here and back and forth. Just to keep the homefront going while popping over here to support us.”

Tammy is thankful to have stable, comfortable, and supportive housing where her two children can play and be together while they figure out next steps. “Mikayla likes being able to keep tabs on brother and she was pretty worried,” Tammy said. While RMHC is home at the moment, they all can’t wait for the day they are back in their hometown and caring for their baby sheep as a family under one roof.

Your support helps families like Josh’s at a difficult time in their lives. To learn more about how to get involved, visit our Donate or Volunteer pages!