Josh and Kristi Rasmusson knew they had a long road ahead right when their son Nile was born at 27 weeks in Iowa City in March of 2019. The Ankeny, Iowa residents were nearly two hours away from home and with two young daughters Raena and Paige, keeping a sense of normalcy for the kids was a high priority. While Kristi was at the hospital with the newborn, Josh went to the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City to fill out paperwork for their stay. Not being familiar with the organization, Josh asked, “How would you like us to pay for our stay? Is it by week or month?” He remembers vividly when the staff member replied, “Don’t worry, there is no charge.” At that moment Josh felt a sense of home.
During Nile’s 75 day stay at the hospital, Josh would work during the week and visit from Ankeny on the weekends while Kristi stayed at the Ronald McDonald House a vast majority of the time. Despite being apart most of the week, their kids were still the center of attention and Ronald McDonald House was there to help. Josh explains, “As a family we were able to go to the Children’s Museum completely free of charge. Having these types of opportunities brought us closer together as a family and was a much-needed break from the hospital.”
The time spent at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City is something Kristi will never forget, “We were perfect strangers, yet it felt like the Ronald McDonald House staff already knew our story and immediately treated us like family. It was the little things like giving our girls high-fives as they walked in. Those types of gestures may not seem like a big deal, but it made them feel special.” Just one month after going back to Ankeny with baby Nile, Josh and Kristi organized a charity golf outing to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. The inaugural event was sold out and raised $6,000. “We wanted to show our appreciation and pay it forward” said Kristi. “Your friend, family member, or co-worker may need the help of RMH like we did when Nile was born.”