Joile Sullivan’s Family

By now, we all know the incredible challenges of living in a COVID-19 world: navigating remote school, working, keeping your family safe and healthy. Now imagine all of that while your child is in the hospital far from home. The Sullivan family knows exactly how it feels.

But thanks to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s, the Sullivans were able to stay by their daughter’s side during surgery to repair her heart’s mitral valve.

“We considered delaying Joile’s surgery due to COVID-19, but it was too urgent. Luckily, we already knew how helpful the Ronald McDonald House could be after we stayed there for three months when Joile was a baby,” Joile’s mother, Gwendolyn, recalls. “We were blessed that a room was available.”

Joile’s doctors originally told the family to plan for a week-long stay. They didn’t expect their stay to extend to a month and a half after complications and a second surgery.

“The Ronald McDonald House filled in the gaps for us and our family when we had nowhere else to turn,” Gwendolyn shared. “It was the simple things we appreciated – a bed, lunch, a shower, shampoo, etc. Joile’s father was able to work remotely at the House so he didn’t have to travel from Madison, Wisconsin to be with her, and Joile was excited to be able to start school remotely with her classmates.”

This is the difference your support makes to just one of the 162 families we serve each day – families just like Joile’s.