2013-03-04 / Front Page
Hunter Hospitality House allows Peck woman to be with daughter after premature birth
Her daughter, Stephanie Ryan of Croswell, had been admitted prematurely to the hospital last Dec. 26 after suffering from preeclampsia or high blood pressure during her pregnancy.
Her baby, Stephen, was born six weeks early on Dec. 28 weighing just 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
With the baby expected to stay in the hospital for another two weeks, Ryan said she learned from the nurses about the new Hunter Hospitality House.
Located at 1010 Lincoln Ave., Hunter Hospitality House offers free lodging and respite for guests who have patients receiving care at either Port Huron or Mercy hospitals. Ryan, 20, said she appreciated being able to stay close to her baby, while her husband, Steve, 21, was able to use their one vehicle to drive to work.
“It was a nice place to stay,” she said. “It was really helpful that they had a place right there. It saved us a lot of gas and a lot of money with my husband having to be at work. It was right across the street from the hospital, and I could just go over whenever he needed to eat.”
Ryan said she and her husband shared one of the Hunter Hospitality House’s five bedrooms, while her mother stayed in another. She said it had all the amenities of home along with a fully stocked kitchen.
“If that wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have been able to see him as much as I did when he was in the hospital,” she said. “I know people who had to go in early for their babies and had to go to Royal Oak, and they didn’t have a spot there so they had to stay
in the lobby of the hospital. I was glad I could go to the Hunter
Hospitality House and didn’t have to go anywhere else.”
Tracy Willard of Port Huron cofounded Hunter Hospitality House with her husband, Jeff, just over a year ago.
Their baby, Hunter, was born two months prematurely and lived only 16 days before passing away. He was in and out of the hospital during that time and stayed in a special care nursery.
“We had gone through the experience of having Hunter in the hospital,” she said. “It was just an exhausting experience to want to be there.”
Even though she lived in town, Willard still found it wasn’t safe for her to be driving to the hospital alone at odd hours with high emotions and little sleep.
“We thought how can we make sure his little life counted,” she said. “I thought there must be other people going through this.”
Willard said the Hunter Hospitality House opened on Dec. 7, 2011, which would have been their son’s 20th birthday.
Guests who have a loved one at the local hospitals can take advantage of the home free of charge whether it’s for someone facing major surgery, recovering from an illness or receiving outpatient treatment on a regular basis.
She said the home is fully functional and supplied with whatever guests may need during their visit including food, hygiene products, clothing and more. Handicapped accessible facilities are available as well.
“It’s a place you can rest at any time of the day,” Willard said. “The convenient location of Hunter Hospitality House can’t be outdone.”
Guests are welcome to come and go as they please, but the house does remain locked. Volunteers are on hand each business day for assistance, and a community information center at the house also gives guests knowledge about products and services available in the area.
Willard said guests can call for an appointment, and there are no income requirements. The office number can be reached at 810-824-3679 or after hours at 810-987-3911. Cell phone calls can be made to Tracy at 810-990-9957 or Jeff at 810-990-9956.
The house, which operates on fundraisers and donations, has received a great deal of support from the community. The first annual fundraiser featuring a dinner and variety show will be held April 20 at 6 p.m. at Black River Country Club in Port Huron.
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