Samantha Yelenosky’s Family

The Yelenosky family volunteered for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana for more than a decade, unaware that they would soon desperately rely on its services.

After suffering from flu-like symptoms, Samantha, The Yelenosky’s vibrant nine year old daughter with Down syndrome, was admitted to the hospital after suffering from cardiac arrest and an almost complete shutdown of her vital organs. Samantha earned the title of being named the sickest child at Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago – words no parent ever wants to hear about their child.

“Her chances of survival were slim, but we weren’t leaving her side, not even for a minute,” says Samantha’s mother, Marissa.

Determined to stay by their daughter’s side, the family immediately moved into the Ronald McDonald Family Room located inside the hospital. Once Samantha stabilized, the family was transferred to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s. Their stay allowed them to rest, eat and stay healthy while they supported Samantha through her intense treatment.

“It wasn’t until then that we understood the magnitude of healing and comfort that these houses provided and are truly grateful for them,” Marissa explains.

After 85 days of care, treatment and love away from home, Samantha beat the odds and is on her way to a full recovery.