When the world's largest Ronald McDonald House opens in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood this Tuesday, Schaumburg residents Brian Loeger and his wife Leanne Redden will be there to show support.
They said the Ronald McDonald House in Lincoln Park was invaluable to them during the seven weeks in the fall of 2010 that their then 4-year-old son, Quinn, was undergoing a difficult recovery from a rare type of heart surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital.
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The facility gave them not only proximity to the hospital, but most of the amenities of home, a place for Quinn's twin brother Bryce to play when he visited on the weekends and the comradeship of other families in similarly difficult circumstances.
"That was especially important, because we had never been through something like this before," Brian said. "To go back to an isolated hotel room every night would have been devastating."
Quinn had to undergo an "aortic uncrossing" to stop his aorta from strangling his windpipe as he grew. He was originally supposed to be in the hospital for 7 to 10 days, but complications kept him there for nearly two months.
Leanne, who worked as the village of Schaumburg's director of transportation before becoming senior executive deputy director of the RTA, said it was the hospital who brought the availability of Ronald McDonald House to their attention.
"We originally thought it was for people with very limited incomes. But we learned it was far more than that."
The new facility will feature 86 rooms on 14 stories. Not only will it reduce the possibility of families being turned away for lack of space, but it will have more amenities than the Lincoln Park site's play areas, pantries and laundry facilities.
The new Ronald McDonald House was built to be accessible to the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Though located in the heart of the city, the new hospital and Ronald McDonald House will undoubtedly be of great benefit to many suburban families like theirs, Brian and Leanne said.