In August 2012, Melissa and Brennon Zellmer learned that having a family was going to be much more difficult than imagined. Their first baby, Carter, arrived at 21 weeks and only survived three days before his heart stopped.
In September 2013, they had twin boys, born at 23 weeks. Kaleb weighed 1 lb. 3 oz. and Jase weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. More complications came and the Zellmers suffered another loss. Kaleb died after just two days from a blood clot.
The Zellmers were distraught. Having now lost two sons, they poured all of their time and energy into helping Jase grow. During their 135-night stay at the Ronald McDonald House, Melissa never went home once, spending as much time as she could with Jase in the NICU at Mercy Children’s Hospital.
“We are thankful for the Ronald McDonald House, where we could escape for awhile, with a good meal and a bed. We are thankful for the staff and volunteers, where I shared Jase’s accomplishments on good days and shared tears on rough days.”
It is always a happy day when families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House get to check out and head home. For the Zellmer family, it was a bittersweet moment.
“I couldn’t believe it, for once in my life, I was not handing my baby to a funeral director. I was taking my baby home. Brennon and I rode home, barely talking, looking at our baby and thanking God for this wonderful moment.”
In September 2014, Melissa, Brennon and Jase visited the House to make dinner for the residents. Jase now weighs 18 lbs. 6 oz. and just celebrated his 1st birthday.