When Eva Lentz was born with end stage renal disease, her mother Rachel was told that she would eventually need a kidney transplant. As Eva gained weight and grew large enough for transplant, she endured daily dialysis while her mother was tested to see if she was a match for donation. Testing showed that she was a perfect match and in November 2017 Rachel gave Eva a kidney.
Before, during and after the transplant, Rachel’s family used the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Before the transplant, Rachel and Eva would make the three-hour trek from their home in Eagle Grove to Iowa City, arriving the night before appointments. By staying at the House Rachel could bring all of Eva’s dialysis equipment and have a private place for treatment. “It’s enough to do the dialysis treatment, then add the complications of trying to travel while doing it is awful,” said Rachel. In addition to the comfortable, private room, Rachel appreciated the nightly meals, the kitchen space to prepare food and the companionship she felt with the other families.
After the transplant, Rachel and Eva stayed in the hospital for two weeks to recover. During that time, Rachel’s mother stayed at the House with Rachel’s other two small children so the family could stay close by. “Being able to still see my other children during this time was a huge blessing,” says Rachel. “They loved the toy room so much that they didn’t want to go home.” Rachel says that seeing others’ generosity is inspiring. “I would like to one day be able to give back as much as we’ve received and to be in a position to give as generously as others have. We are super thankful.”
Rachel’s advice to others facing a similar situation is to make yourself comfortable, use what is offered and get to know the other families. “People are uncomfortable being in a charity situation, so sometimes they keep to their room. The facility is there; embrace it and don’t be embarrassed. The social interaction with others that can relate and empathize with your situation – being in and out of hospitals, doctor’s appointments, traveling – is priceless.”
The Red Shoe Run/Walk supports RMHC-EIWI families with a child receiving medical care locally. Each mile will be dedicated to one of our families. Sign up for the run/walk to support Eva.