Mia Reynoso’s Family

For eight-year-old Mia Reynoso and her family – including Mia’s two younger sisters – their stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Winfield while Mia underwent radiation treatment was a blessing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mia’s parents, Elizabeth and Freddie, tried for years to uncover what caused their daughter’s constant thirst. Earlier this year, after losing of 40 pounds – half her bodyweight – in five months, Mia was finally diagnosed with germinoma brain cancer.

Following four months of chemotherapy near the Reynoso’s home in Indianapolis, Mia’s medical team recommended Mia undergo four weeks of radiation at The Northwestern Medicine Proton Center in Chicago’s western suburbs. As her family tried to figure out where to stay, the Proton Center referred them to our nearby Ronald McDonald House.

Knowing they had a place to stay meant Mia’s parents could plan their trip together as a family. When they arrived the week of Thanksgiving, Mia’s two older sisters stayed home in Indiana so they could continue with school while her two younger sisters stayed with her and their parents at the House.

Families staying at local Ronald McDonald Houses have once again been allowed to bring well-siblings if the family stay is longer than two weeks – a COVID-19 restriction that the Charity eased to make it easier on families with long-term stays.

Every day, Mia leads her two younger sisters down to the front desk to get their daily health check (and, more importantly for the girls, their daily stickers). During their stay, the girls write letters to Santa and seek out Snowflake, the House’s resident “elf on the shelf.” Staff at the House have also shared some fun, safe family activities with the Reynoso’s, like the best places to see holiday light displays from their car.

Mia’s mom knows what a difference this home away from home has made for their family.

“The staff share so much love with the girls,” Elizabeth said. “Every day after radiation treatment, staff members check in to see how Mia is feeling. Plus, there are unexpected treats for the girls – sometimes a coloring book, crayons, a doll. We feel like we are family here.”

Mia and her family went home on December 20, just in time to celebrate Christmas together with the rest of their family, but with the added warm memories of being together throughout Mia’s ordeal – and hopefully a new year of health for Mia.