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Local non-profit played role in groundbreaking surgery

Ronald McDonald House fulfills its mission
Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families
Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 22:28:56-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It has been 5 years since Driscoll Children's Hospital performed a first-of-its-kind operation to separate conjoined girls.

Silvia Hernandez Ambriz and her two girls, Scarlet and Ximena, received crucial support from the Ronald McDonald House during their stay in Corpus Christi.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Corpus Christi is a non-profit that provides a home away from home for families that need to travel here because of a child's healthcare needs.

Their mission is to make families feel like they are home by providing them all the comforts of home.

Ronald McDonald House CEO Michelle Horine says this operation helps make sure that families like Silvia Herandez Ambriz's don't need to worry about shelter or where their next meal is coming from during the hospitalization of their children.

"What's so special about this house is that it is a place that is some of these children's first home and will forever be a home for them," Horine said. "So we feel really blessed that we're able to be here to serve those families who need us for whether it's a short period of time or an extended period of time."

Scarlet, Ximena and their family ended up staying at the Corpus Christi Ronald McDonald House for two years after their surgery.

Silvia Hernandez Ambriz and Horine became pretty close as they waited for the day of the surgery.

The bond was so tight that Hernandez Ambriz asked Horine to be the girl's "madrina", or godmother.

This action is considered an honor in the Hispanic culture.

"At the time when Scarlet and Ximena were in the hospital, it was really important for mom to have them baptized but they had very limited access to who could visit," Horine said. "And so because of the family had been with us for so long, all of our families end up feeling like part of our own extended family. So I was very honored to be asked to be the godmother."

Horine says she still keeps in touch with her godchildren and their mom.