Community celebrates birthday of local boy with life-threatening blood disorder

Local News

TREMONT, Ill. (WMBD) — Melissa Wheeler said her son, Ronnie, typically must isolate himself during cold and flu season. But with COVID-19, he has been in quarantine for nearly two years.

But on Sunday, Nov. 14, the Tremont community came out to surprise Ronnie with an early birthday present: a parade in front of his house.

Ronnie has a life-threatening blood disorder and no spleen, and his mom said he has been a St. Jude patient for 10 years.

“We’re here to help celebrate his birthday because he hasn’t been able to do anything for the past two years because of St. Jude quarantining him,” said family friend Sarah Frohberg.

According to Ronnie’s mom Melissa, he was pulled out of school in January 2020 to isolate for his health. Shortly after, the pandemic hit. Now, nearly two years later, his isolation has not ended.

“He has to even be careful in a normal year when there’s just the flu going around,” Frohberg said.

Melissa Wheeler said he has not been able to be a kid, and wanted to give him something to look forward to.

“It’s great that the town of Tremont came out to support him and to recognize him on his birthday. And to make him feel like a normal kid again,” Frohberg said.

On top of his blood disorder, Ronnie is on the autism spectrum. Without in-person schooling, his verbal skills have regressed. But he still wanted to say thank you.

“I loved my parade today. Thank you,” Ronnie said in a video sent by his mom.

This year’s birthday is extremely special to the family and all those that support Ronnie.

“They say 10 years is as long as they make it. And he will be 11. So basically, every year, from what Melissa has told me, every year from now on is a gift,” Frohberg said.

Frohberg said if you want to help families like Ronnie’s, support St. Jude Runs. That information can be found here.

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