The Morris Family Story
When Kizzy Morris and her daughter, Krishanta, came to Philadelphia from Trinidad and Tobago in November 2017 for an appointment, they were expecting to stay here for only one week—so they packed accordingly. They had come to see if doctors at Shriners Hospital for Children would be able to help Krishanta, who was born with Blount Disease—a growth disorder that caused her leg bones to angle inward. After examining her, doctors confirmed that they could treat her, but that she needed to stay and begin procedures immediately.
“She had her first surgery on one leg in January,” recalls Kizzy. “After three months, I was ready to go back home, but the doctor said that they needed to operate on her other leg as well. We just came to spend one week. We did not come with extra money or extra clothes. Fortunately, the doctors put us in touch with the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House.”
Doctors knew that at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, Kizzy and Krishanta would not have to worry about where to sleep at night or what they would have to eat. “It has been a journey. A very long journey,” says Kizzy. “I thank the Ronald McDonald House. I did not know what to expect at first, but the staff made us feel at home. They make sure you are all right. They are always trying to help us with everything that we might need. They know you already have a primary concern—your child. So they try to help with everything else. I appreciate it so much.”
Krishanta’s spirit has improved since her treatment began. Since the age of three, she has had difficulties walking. “It was very hard to see her going to school all these years, and she had to crawl around her classroom,” says Kizzy. “It was really difficult to know that at night she used to have a lot of pain; her back and feet hurt. It all gave her low self-esteem, and she never wanted to go anywhere. Now, she wants to go everywhere, and everywhere we go, she puts on a dress. It is hard to describe how great it feels for a parent to know that your child is able to go places with you.”
Krishanta has made a couple of good friends at the House—Noah and Hannah—and while they only stay when they have appointments in Philadelphia, she always looks forward to seeing them. She and her mother have also formed a close friendship with another guest family who is staying at the House long-term. “We cook together, we run together,” says Kizzy. “They are teaching us Spanish, and we are teaching them English. We all like to go see the train nearby. We sit there and wave and the conductor looks confused. He must know that we are not from here. We always try to have a little bit of fun after dinner.” Krishanta chimes in, “We also blow bubbles!”
Krishanta has operations and treatment scheduled in the coming months and will continue to have to be away from her father and siblings in Trinidad and Tobago, but her mother has a positive outlook. “It has been rough for us, but we feel like things are smoothing out,” says Kizzy. “We’ll be at the House until November, and her foot should be straight by then, so I am very thankful.”