A Family Gives Back
Ilana and Dan stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda, California when their son David was born. David spent the first two weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit before his parents could bring him home to Pittsburgh. Their stay at the Ronald McDonald House made all the difference in their lives during that time and they have never forgotten it.
“It was an environment where everyone cared,” said Ilana. “We were always with people who understood what we were going through.”
As the new parents arrived home with their son, their hearts were filled with gratitude for the kindness that was extended to them while far from home. Kindness that they would one day return to others facing the same situation as they did.
“We have a tremendous amount of gratitude. The Ronald McDonald House was there for us during a very difficult time,” said Ilana.
In their hometown of Pittsburgh, Ilana and Dan gathered their friends and began making meals for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in their city. Ilana calls their meals “Love Food” because she knows first-hand the love a warm meal brings to these families.
In addition, Ilana created a family spinner game to help her son communicate. The spinner has conversation prompts such as share a highlight, a challenge, or a lowlight to get kids talking.
“It presents a safe space for kids and families to talk and get closer,” said Ilana.
Knowing how this game could also help children who are receiving medical care, Ilana donated spinners to families at the House.
“It gets kids who are in the hospital to talk with their parents, nurses, doctors, psychologists about things that may be painful to them,” said Ilana.
Today, David is 12. He enjoys music, playing football and video games and being with his friends. And though the pandemic has temporarily suspended the opportunity to make meals in-house, both Ilana and Dan look forward to the day when they can get back to the Ronald McDonald House kitchen to provide their “Love Food” to those needing the same comfort and support that they found more than a decade ago.