Those who stay with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois become a part of a family that lasts a lifetime. The Marks Family, who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City in 2012, formed lasting connections while at the House that have stayed with them throughout the years. Their son, Kinnick, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome which causes the left part of the heart to be underdeveloped. After two stays at the House, and multiple surgeries, Kinnick passed peacefully away with his family nearby. Amanda Marks shared, “We were lucky to have the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City during that time. The staff was so kind and helpful during our stay and did what they could for us when Kinnick passed.”
Amanda Marks remembers how helpful the House was for their family. “Having food available at all times was so important for us while we stayed near the hospital. Sometimes we wouldn’t get back to the House until 10 pm, so having access to pantry items allowed us to eat when we could.” Amanda explained that they would eat, sleep, and then go right back to the hospital each day to be near Kinnick. Staying at the Ronald McDonald House meant they could spend more time with Kinnick and helped them afford to stay away from home. Amanda loved that families could share their stories and pictures on the white boards outside each room. She even found a family whose son had the same condition as Kinnick.
The Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City left a lasting impression on Amanda Marks and her family. They love to attend the Alumni Family Reunion each year after the Red Shoe Run & Walk 5K and continue to share their story. Their beautiful family has grown over the years, Kinnick always with them in their hearts.