Ronald McDonald House

A Mother’s Devotion

July 2014

By Gene Davis

On December 31, 2013, Leanne Cardenas of Wailuku, Maui gave birth to her daughter Eliana almost three months prematurely.

Eliana showed her personality even while she was in Intensive Care.

Eliana Cardenas
Eliana Cardenas
Eliana’s early arrival and the three months she spent in Intensive Care caused many anxious moments and brought back stark memories of the premature birth of a baby boy in 2012 who sadly, didn’t survive.

But little Eliana fought every day, and slowly but surely, she gained the strength necessary for her to finally be able to go home to be with mom, dad Carlos, and her 5-year-old brother Isaac.

Leanne stayed at the Oahu Avenue House for the first two weeks after herself being released on January 5. Then she moved over to the Judd Hillside House to allow her husband and son to come and stay with her. “Us being able to stay together under one roof made such a difference,” Leanne recalled. “We were able to face these difficult challenges together.”

Leanne and Eliana cuddled all the way home to Maui.
Leanne and Eliana home to Maui
While at the Ronald McDonald House, Leanne would walk down the hill to Kapiolani Medical Center early every morning to get extra time with Eliana that night to eat, sleep, and then come home late each night to eat, sleep, and get ready to do it all over again the next day. Her dedication paid off beautifully!

Yes, Leanne has seen many sides of being a mother. “It’s the most important thing to me,” she says. “I love it. Nothing else really matters to me except my kids and my husband. I’m just getting to know Eliana and I can’t wait to watch her grow and see her and her brother playing together. Being a mom is truly the greatest feeling of all.”

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