The Franco Family – Finding Comfort, Coping Together

Franco Family 2022
The Franco siblings have moved to online school to be close to their little sister during her treatment at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.
“It feels good just to know that the kids here, and my baby sister, are in a safe place.” — Miracle’s big sister, Trinity

Meet Baby Miracle and Her Siblings

Baby Miracle

Ten-month-old Miracle was born a heart warrior, undergoing open heart surgery at just a few months old. She is truly a miracle baby to her parents, Heidi and Daniel Franco, which they say inspired her name. Once the Franco family learned of the severity of Miracle’s heart condition, they came to stay at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford, almost three hours from their home in Merced, CA, to seek treatment at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Now, Miracle is waiting for a liver transplant while her family stays moments away at the House.

Miracle has an extensive support system with four of her older siblings, Trinity (11), Serenity (8), Benjamin (5), and Jorge (2), staying at Ronald McDonald House as they cheer their baby sister on. Big sister Trinity, age 11, shares, “I think it feels good just to know that the kids here and my baby sister are in a safe place.”

Arriving at Ronald McDonald House

Like many families arriving at Ronald McDonald House, Miracle’s mom, Heidi, said, “We didn’t know what to expect, so we didn’t come with anything. We were able to eat. The kids were able to eat. We could get on our feet a little bit, you know?” said Heidi, as her baby girl has spent months in neonatal intensive care.  “It creates a kind of stability within our little unit.”

Even the simplest things, like toiletries and laundry soap, made the most significant difference for their family, said Miracle’s dad, Daniel, adding, “You don’t have to worry about that, so it is not in the back of your mind.” When Heidi and Daniel learned they would have to spend months away from their home as they waited for Miracle’s new liver, it was a relief for them to be able to keep their family together and nearby the hospital.

Together as a Family

“Having our daughter, Miracle, in the hospital, it takes a toll on us because we feel helpless seeing her there,” Daniel said. “When she got out of surgery, she had tubes coming out of everywhere, wires and stuff. And, of course, we go to the worst place in our minds thinking about that.”

Heidi and Miracle
Daniel and his daughter, Miracle

A Whole Support System

The support of Ronald McDonald House and the connections to other families help alleviate some of the stress of having a sick child. “You’re doing more than just giving,” Trinity shared. “You’re creating a support system and helping people.”

The Sibling Perspective – 11-year-old Trinity

Miracle’s 11-year-old big sister, Trinity, stays with her family nearby the hospital where her sister is awaiting a liver transplant.

With three older sisters herself, Trinity says it has been an adjustment being the oldest sibling at the House. “I’m a younger sibling too, which is kind of weird for me to be like an older sister.” She’s been finding comfort in new friends, some of whom are also waiting for transplants, like her baby sister.

“If I were to describe Ronald McDonald House to my friends, I would tell them that it’s a beautiful place to meet new people and to learn about people,” she said.


“I see kids around here, and I can tell that they feel fine, but I think on the inside of them, they’re worried about how the world thinks about them—like if they ever go back to school, how they’re old friends or their new friends are going to make fun of them. They want to be normal ’n’ stuff, I think.”


Siblings are deeply affected by childhood illness, which is why we focus on keeping them together during medical crises. Miracle’s dad, Daniel, puts it perfectly: “Being here together at Ronald McDonald House as a family together, it allows us to nurture our kids and explain to them what’s going on because they go through it too. They stress out, too, just as much as we do.”

Ronald McDonald House allows the Franco family to be together through Miracle’s surgeries and hospital stays. Without Ronald McDonald House, Heidi shares that the division of their family would be challenging to navigate, “One of us would have to be home, and one would have to be here. We would be switching and separating from [the kids] and each other, which would have been pretty hard.”

Daniel said, “To allow us to be a family, supporting each other, has been a blessing.”

“One of us would have to be home, and one would have to be here. We would be switching and separating from `{`the kids`}` and each other, which would have been pretty hard.” — Miracle's Mom, Heidi Franco

Finding Normalcy & Joy Through the Storm of Medical Crisis

According to dad, Daniel, the kids’ favorite activity at the House is Bingo Night. “Man, they go crazy for that,” he said with a smile. “That right there just brings joy to them.” Every Tuesday, the families are invited to join in on a round of Bingo to win a new toy.

Miracle’s 8-year-old sister, Serenity, shared that her favorite prize so far has been a piggy bank in which she keeps her money.

On top of Bingo Night, the Franco kids enjoy reading in our Great Rooms, participating in Fun Club activities held by our award-winning Family Support Services program, and playing on our outdoor playground.


Miracle has a long road of treatments and surgeries ahead of her. Ronald McDonald House is here to continue alleviating some of the stress for Heidi and Daniel, so they can focus on what matters most — Miracle’s health and being together as a family.

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