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The Gardner Family – Mia’s Story


When husband and wife Milton and DarTanya Gardner found out they were finally pregnant, they made sure to follow the doctor’s orders closely. But one night, five months into mom’s pregnancy, she felt like something was wrong.

DarTanya was going into labor and Milton drove her quickly to nearest hospital. Their baby girl, Mia, had arrived weighing only 1 lb 2 ½ oz. Tired and overwhelmed, the Gardner family was transferred to Children’s Memorial Hermann to get the proper care Mia needed. At only 22 weeks old, Mia was too fragile to leave the hospital. But it became exhausting for the Gardner’s driving back and forth constantly from their home in Spring, Tx to the hospital to watch over their newborn daughter.  “We were so tired and when we found out we could stay at the Ronald McDonald House we took that opportunity to stay close to Mia,” said dad. One thing the Gardner’s were most thankful for were the hot meals and freshly baked cookies that welcomed them each day.

For 115 days, the Gardner family stayed at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and got the rest they needed while staying close to Mia. “We could see the struggles of the other families and how they were benefitting from using the Ronald McDonald House.” While a child heals in the hospital, many families are faced with the conflict of being away from work. With the House being inside the hospital, families can alternate who stays at the hospital while the other provides. As Mia healed, dad was able to return to work while DarTanya could stay with Mia.

Today, Mia is healthy and at 2 years old she still has the same strength she had when she was born. “She is a quick learner and a fighter,” says mom. Milton gives back to the House by volunteering with his company Cox Automotive providing meals and helping around our facilities. The House was able to provide for the Gardner’s when they needed it most by staying close to their daughter as she recuperated. Mia is healthier than ever, all thanks to the care she received at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House allowing her family to stay with her every step of the way. Mia enjoys singing, dancing, swimming and completing puzzles and continues to show Mom and Dad just how strong she really is.