Falling in love while abroad in China wasn’t something Andrew and Evelyn Young planned for back in 2013. Evelyn, a native of Brazil, was studying in Northeast China when she met an American named Andrew who was there on business. Three years later the couple married and in 2018 they became pregnant with their first child. After doing the first ultrasound at 21 weeks, they went back a few weeks later for a special 4D ultrasound so family members could see their daughter Josephine in higher quality. From the 4D images, doctor’s determined the baby may have life threatening complications. Evelyn was transferred to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital where labor was medically induced at 39 weeks. Josephine underwent two surgeries after birth and faced a long recovery.
The couple spent countless hours at the hospital during Josephine’s journey, and staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City allowed them to get away from the stresses of a hospital. Evelyn explains, “Being at the hospital for long periods of time is hard on a parent. While at the Ronald McDonald House I could stay close to Josephine. We didn’t want to be far away from her even if it was for just one day. The first month was so crucial and we weren’t sure if she was going to pull through so to have 24 hour access to the Ronald McDonald House meant so much to our family.”
Towards the end of their stay at the Ronald McDonald House, Christmas was nearing and the Youngs didn’t have time to shop for gifts. “Josephine was only three months old at the time and we weren’t even thinking of gift ideas” said Evelyn. “Talking to a RMH staff member one day, they let me know about the Holiday Shopping Room dedicated to families staying at the House. An entire room was full of toys and I was able to pick out a few things for Josephine. Today, she loves those toys so much and plays with them every day. Having the opportunity to shop for baby during that time meant the world to our family.”