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Elliott’s Journey


ollowing an ambulance that was transporting my 16-hour-old newborn son to Iowa City was not how I anticipated parenthood beginning. With my wife 90 miles away, I was alone, praying that the lights on the ambulance would not turn on. To our surprise, my wife went into labor six weeks early and the lungs of our newborn son were not developed. He was placed on a ventilator to breath at our hospital in Dubuque and then transported to Iowa City for more critical care. Some of my anxiety was relieved when we arrived at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. I had never been here before, but had always heard that remarkable things happened in this place. Once I was reunited with my son in the neonatal intensive care unit, surrounded by welcoming doctors and nurses, I knew we were in the best place possible. A hospital social worker stopped by soon after I arrived and discussed resources that were available to help with this new transition in our lives. She handed me a brochure for the Ronald McDonald House. Until

Nathaniel and Kim stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City for just over three weeks while Elliott was being treated at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

this point, the only thing that I knew about the Ronald McDonald House was that money was collected in the donation boxes at McDonald’s restaurants. I called to see if there was availability, and unfortunately there wasn’t. However, I was placed on their waiting list. This gave me the opportunity to stay with my son in the hospital for a couple of days, but did not help my already exhausted body. Two days later, my wife finally got to join our family in Iowa City. I couldn’t feel more helpless not having a place for us to stay, but that was eased two hours after she arrived and we received a call telling us that we had a room waiting at the Ronald McDonald House. Having not slept well in three days and my wife hardly being able

All smiles as the Wagner Family prepares to go home after Elliott’s journey in Iowa City.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa (RMHC of Eastern Iowa) creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. RMHC of Eastern Iowa provides care and comfort to children and their families by supporting its cornerstone program, the 31room “home away from home” Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City. Your support enables families to stay together when it matters most. We ask you to consider giving a gift to RMHC of Eastern Iowa today.

to walk, the welcoming comforts of a home away from home was more than words can describe. Apprehensive about leaving our little boy alone for the first time, we made our trip to the Ronald McDonald House. From the moment we first walked through the front door and until we left twenty two days later we were welcomed, cared for, supported, and loved. Thinking we would just have a room to stay in, we were amazed by all of the other resources the Ronald McDonald House offered us. The warm meals served daily, the free laundry facilities, the parking pass for the hospital, the handmade crocheted blankets made by volunteers to give to children, and the beautiful facility were more than we could have ever asked for. It took a short time to realize that a facility of this magnitude would be nothing without the amazing staff and volunteers. Whether it was asking a question, needing a phone call made, or just needing to talk, it’s these personal touches that make the Ronald McDonald House what it is. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, we were able to try and

relax in a very stressful situation. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, we were provided comfort during a time of need. Thanks to the Ronald McDonald House, we were able to be the best parents we could be in a challenging situation. Our little Elliott is now a healthy eight-month-old baby. We hope to never be in a situation like this again, but are comforted in knowing that the Ronald McDonald House continues to provide amazing services to families like ours everyday. We are truly grateful to the Ronald McDonald House for all that they have done for us and continue to do for so many other families. The Ronald McDonald House will forever be a part of our life. Thank you for all of the staff, volunteers, and donations that continue to keep the Ronald McDonald House in successful operation.


Nathaniel, Kim, and Elliott Wagner

2012 Annual Campaign Letter  

Letter asking for year-end gift from supporters of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa

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