The Munoz Family

Collage of Brice and Nadia

Having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is described as absolutely terrifying by most parents.

Nora Munoz had two. In 2005, at the age of two, Nora’s first born, Brice, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, glycogen storage disease (GSD) type 4. His cure was a liver transplant, which meant waiting in Houston at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) so they could remain close to Texas Children’s Hospital when they received the call for a transplant. 1 year later, the call came through, and Brice had a new liver.

The family returned home to Diboll, Texas and watched as Brice grew bigger, stronger, and healthier each day. He was able to play t-ball with his friends like a normal kid. “The bravery Brice has shown since his transplant has made him our own little superhero,” says mom, Nora. “He even calls his transplant scar the ‘Superman Scar’”.

The following year, Nora gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Nadia. But at just one week old, she was tested and confirmed as a carrier of GSD type 4, as well. Nadia would also need a liver transplant. The Munoz family returned once again to RMH Houston while waiting for a call that could change their lives.

Brice and Nadia standing side by side But with such a long and uncertain wait time, Nora had to find a way to provide some sense of normalcy for her children. At RMH Houston, Brice and Nadia were able to attend Summer Camp, a six week hands-on learning program located right inside the Holcombe House. With the kids in camp, Nora could speak with other moms and dads, and they could provide support and encouragement for one another. Nora explains the compassion she felt while staying at the House. Not only did staff ask Nora how her children were doing, but “they always said, ‘How are you doing?”. This provided the support she needed to continue caring for both children.

Today, Brice is 12 years old and Nadia is nearly 9. While they require ongoing care, they have both successfully recovered from their transplants and have returned home, happy and healthier than ever. But this duo are more than just siblings. Drawn close by their shared illness, Brice and Nadia have become one another’s protector, advocate, confidante, and most importantly – best friends. They understand what the other is going through when no one else out there does.

When one is sick and can’t go to school, the other immediately checks in when they get home. Mom, Nora, explains: “They’ll ask, ‘Are you OK? How did your day go?’”.  When Nadia faces new tests and procedures, she consults with her brother because chances are he has been through the same thing already.

Now, they will share another, happier experience. Brice and Nadia are among 100 children worldwide who McDonald’s is sending to participate in the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The McDonald’s Olympics Kid Program celebrates the spirit of friendship that Nadia and Brice exemplify through their shared experiences while growing up at RMH Houston. We could not be more excited for this deserving duo!