Tate Campbell’s Family

For four-year-old Tate Campbell and his family – including dad, mom, Nana and Tate’s two brothers – their stay at Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s while Tate underwent therapy services at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab was a blessing.

In March 2022, Tate sustained an accident that resulted in spinal cord injury causing paralysis. Originally from Preston, Connecticut, the family arrived in Chicago for Tate’s months-long inpatient stay at Shirley Ryan. Once Tate was discharged from the hospital, the Campbell family turned to Ronald McDonald House for a close place to stay during Tate’s Day Rehab.

The Campbell family credits Ronald McDonald House for keeping their family together during the toughest days of their lives.

“One of the truly special things about Ronald McDonald House is that it provides a welcoming, home-like environment for families,” Meghan said. “Everyone is more than accommodating to whatever your family’s needs are.”

Meghan continued, “Tate’s brothers weren’t allowed to visit him while he was at Shirley Ryan because of COVID-19 policies. Being at the House allowed them to be together and play after two long months apart.”

While at Ronald McDonald House, the family’s day typically started with the breakfast bar (the waffles were a favorite!). The Campbell family noted that they were especially thankful for the never-ending snacks (Tate loved the mug brownies) and daily meals provided by volunteers and led by the House’s Culinary Hearts chef program.

“When we’d return to the House after Day Rehab, they’d always be a warm meal waiting,” Meghan noted. “If for some reason we missed a meal service, we could count on leftovers in the fridge. Plus, the chefs did a great job making new and different meals!”

Staff at the House shared fun family activities with the Campbells, like serving up root beer floats and other sweet treats, playing with the interactive screen, and participating in Camp Colleen, a day of camp-themed activities for families staying at the House.

“Ronald McDonald House gave our kids activities that didn’t revolve around the hospital,” Meghan said. “We loved Beau – the therapy dog – and how the family pantry was always stocked if we wanted to cook. Chef Kevin even made Tate a cake for his birthday! We had fun making cookies in the family kitchen when we needed a taste of home.”

The Campbells also formed relationships with other families staying at Ronald McDonald House who were faced with similar situations, providing additional community and support that families rely on. Plus, Tate and his brothers gained more playmates with the other children staying at the House! Today, the Campbells still keep in touch with a few of the families they met during their stay.

Tate’s mom acknowledges the difference Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana has made for their family.

“It is truly a home away from home. You have a private, comfortable room that allows for much-needed rest and recovery. You don’t have to worry about anything. All our external worries were taken care of, which allowed us to focus on Tate and his needs.”

Meghan Campbell

Tate’s therapy services led to some recovery and an improvement in his core strength and hand coordination. Next up for Tate is a stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Louisville while Tate participates in a clinical trial.