When Tara and Brandon DeWolf toured the birth center at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital, Tara remembered passing the Ronald McDonald Family Room and thinking, “This is great, but I hope we’ll never need to use it.” Not long after, daughter Annabelle was born five weeks early and the DeWolfs found themselves in a place no parent ever dreams of: the neonatal intensive care unit.
While Annabelle recovered in the NICU, Tara and Brandon found relief at the Ronald McDonald Family Room, a space free from distraction where they could rest, visit with friends and family, and take their minds off the situation they were facing.
The couple found the little things provided by the Family Room sometimes made the biggest difference: meals prepared by volunteers meant the DeWolfs never had to worry about what to cook. Donated toiletries made it so Tara didn’t have to drive back and forth between her home and the hospital whenever she ran low on soap. And for Brandon, knowing there was always a fresh pot of coffee waiting for him at the Family Room was a greater relief than he ever imagined.
Though the DeWolfs had no way to plan for their stay, the Ronald McDonald Family Room was ready to welcome the new parents with hot showers, home-cooked meals and a warm bed. At the most uncertain and unexpected moment of their lives, the DeWolfs has somewhere to turn to, a shoulder to lean on and a community that cared.