Lesley Guthrie was waiting with excitement for her grandson, Aurelius, to be born in April 2020. When everything began shutting down around them due to COVID, Lesley knew her son, Mason, and his wife, Alley, would not experience the birth they had been planning for. Lesley’s testimony describes her family’s experience searching for a home away from home and finding it at Goodness VIllage.
“On April 13, 2020, Aurelius Mason Guthrie was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. With COVID restrictions in place only Mason was allowed to be inside the hospital with Alley, the rest of the family sat in the parking lot of the hospital waiting to get news that Aurelius had arrived. We got to FaceTime and see this precious gift that our family had received. Only Mason and Alley were able to hold and be with him.
As I drove home from El Dorado back to Conway, I cried with joy that he was a healthy, big baby boy and that Mason and Alley had received such a wonderful gift. The following evening, I received a phone call that brought me to my knees. As this new family was preparing to go home for the first time, they heard words no parent ever wants to hear, ‘There is a problem with your baby.’”
Aurelius arrived via ambulance to Arkansas Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Due to COVID restrictions, neither parent was allowed to travel in the ambulance with him and only one parent was allowed to go inside the hospital when he arrived.
Lesley met her son and daughter-in-law in the parking lot of the hospital. She set about finding a place for one or both to rest, shower, eat, or just relax while baby Aurelius was being tended to. Most places were shut down or unavailable due.
“As we continued to search for a home away from home, we received news that Aurelius had a heart defect and would need emergency surgery and long-term hospital care.
Shortly afterwards, I received a call from Kim with Goodness Village. She listened to my story, heard me cry and understood the urgency of our family’s situation. She found a place that was less than 10 minutes from Arkansas Children’s Hospital and sent all the instructions and we immediately had a place to stay.”
Mason and Alley had not slept, taken showers, or eaten since they left the hospital in El Dorado. Goodness Village had everything they needed, including a meal that Lesley immediately heated up.
“It was warm, comforting, and inviting for our family. It served as the meeting place so that everyone could be kept in the loop with what was happening with Aurelius and take care of Mason and Alley. They were not allowed in the ICU with Aurelius at first, but after 4 days one parent was allowed in the hospital to visit. They could not stay overnight.”
Baby Aurelius had his heart surgery and after several weeks of care was finally discharged on May 5, 2020 and this new family finally got to go home.
“We were so grateful that during a time of stress we had found a wonderful group that provided a wonderful place to stay. We felt well cared for because of Goodness Village. They gave Aurelius a blanket, brought additional meals, and checked up regularly with my family. When we left in May, we counted our blessings for meeting such amazing people.”
We were honored to provide a home for Lesley and her son’s new family during this unprecedented time. Goodness Village provides comfort and care to families and their specific needs on a case-by-case basis, including how long their stay will be and coming back for check up visits. The Guthries were happy to discover later that they could stay at Goodness Village again for Aurelius’s checkup in a few months.