Ancora Luz means “another light.” That is what she has been to her family since the day she was born. As a baby, Ancora was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder — ARC Syndrome (Arthrogryposis renal dysfunction cholestasis) which impairs liver and kidney function, causing bleeding issues and weak muscles. Like her brother Marcos, who passed away in 2005 at age two, Ancora was not expected to live very long.
When Ancora was diagnosed with ARC, her parents Rachael and Nic Mendoza chose to love her with all they had. Their decision came with many sacrifices but worth every single one. As a baby, Ancora was hospitalized often, but as she grew she continued to get better and the need to visit the hospital became very minimal. This all changed in the blink of an eye.
In February 2011, Ancora contracted a virus which resulted in the need for dialysis three times a week. The first year and a half were extremely difficult for both Ancora and her family as they were basically living at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital for weeks at a time. Every time the Mendoza family came back, the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor were here to provide them with a place to stay while Ancora recovered.
Soon the Mendoza family was back at home with everything going well. Rachael and Nic always knew that Ancora’s health would be a gentle balancing act and did everything they could to keep her healthy. In April of 2014, Ancora fell and broke her leg. For most kids her age, a broken bone would simply mean casting for a number of weeks. In Ancora’s fragile case it required surgery followed by a cascade of illnesses that lasted a few months. She contracted pneumonia, then became septic with two different bacterias and developed systemic mold in her heart and liver.
The Mendoza family has had many close calls with Ancora, but are thankful she is still here. During the difficult times, the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor was their home. It was a respite from the chaos and a place where the entire family could remain together to support Ancora and each other. Over their several visits, Rachael and Nic have made many friends who have supported them through this entire journey, including those extremely difficult days. Without the Ronald McDonald Houses access to the required care needed for Ancora’s many recoveries, they would not have been possible. Financially the Houses have been a great blessing because they allowed the opportunity for the entire family to remain together. Because of the help from the Ronald McDonald Houses of Ann Arbor, the Mendoza Family knows there is a great “light” at the end of this tunnel.