Ines Martin, 44, of Far Rockaway, and her 3-year-old daughter Jacquline, have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park since Dec. 9 while Jacquline, who was diagnosed with lymphoma on Dec. 15, have been undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Cohen Children's Medical Center.
Tell me your story.
I’m a single mother of two. [Her son, Luis, is 5 years old]. When Jacquline had to go to the hospital for pneumonia, the doctor found a lump on the side of her shoulder. She was diagnosed with lymphoma on Dec. 15. Sometimes it takes us too long to get here from Far Rockaway, so we’ve been staying here at the Ronald McDonald House since Dec. 9.
How has it been living here at the Ronald McDonald House?
It’s a godsend. Driving to the hospital from home, Jacquline could have convulsions from the medications she takes or something could really go wrong and it would take too long for the ambulance to bring her to the Cohen children’s hospital. We plan to move to this area, maybe New Hyde Park, in two weeks to be close to the hospital. I’m so glad to be here. She has seven months of chemotherapy treatment to go and three years of remission. This is just the beginning, but the doctor told us that 90 percent of it is already gone, so they’re optimistic. It’s really a miracle that we caught it so early.
How do you put your mind at ease and keep your children occupied?
I pray a lot and Jacquline loves Barbie, so we watch Barbie movies all the time and she loves trying on Mommy’s shoes. I just don’t know what I would do without this place. Traveling back and forth from home to the hospital would have been a nightmare.
I know Jacquline is a little shy right now, but what’s her personality like?
She’s outgoing, loves to cook with me and play with the other kids. She’s shy at first, but once she warms up to you, she’ll be your best friend and will never forget your name. One thing I know is that she’s a fighter and people can’t even tell she’s sick. She’s so strong.
What do you think of New Hyde Park, a community you’re slightly unfamiliar with?
We spend a lot of hours of the day in the hospital or relaxing here, so I can say that the staff here is friendly and they make it feel like home. You see other families go through a similar situation as you and it makes you comfortable sharing our story. I feel like there are a lot of people looking out for us now. My husband Nicholas died three years ago [at age 34 from a complication of a mixture of medications], so we’re still taking it one day at a time.