When a child is sick, a family is sick.

We exist so families can get better together.

Learn how Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana helps families heal together by reading Everly’s story of struggle, love and hope.

Everly Backe

A few weeks before Everly Backe entered the world, her parents received news no one is prepared to hear – Everly would be born with a congenital heart defect. Moments after her birth in August 2017, Everly was receiving medication and monitoring in the NICU and within three days, she had open-heart surgery, the first of three she’d undergo before her first birthday.

Through multiple surgeries, Everly’s parents, Lauren and Matt, and older brother, Jack, relied on Ronald McDonald House to keep them close. “When Everly is in the hospital and looking for me, I don’t want to be two hours away. I want to be two minutes away,” shared Lauren.

The House provided the Backe family with more than a place to sleep during their stays so they could focus on their little girl. “I rarely left the hospital to eat, so when a day didn’t go as planned and I missed lunch and dinner, the fact that volunteers had a meal in the fridge with my name on it when I got back to the House at 3 a.m. meant I actually ate that day,” said Lauren.

As Everly grows, she’ll need more surgeries to replace the conduit in her heart. “We had no idea how helpful Ronald McDonald House was until we had a medically fragile child,” Matt and Lauren said. “We have a great family, we have great friends, we have a great support system, but if we didn’t have the Ronald McDonald House, things would be so much more challenging.”

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Every dollar raised makes a tremendous difference and goes directly to keeping families together.