Baby’s surgery gives family a heart for caringWhen Duluthian Courtney Kile’s son Sullivan was born, excitement quickly turned into fear as the newborn had to be airlifted from Duluth to Minneapolis to undergo heart surgery.
When Duluthian Courtney Kile’s son Sullivan was born, excitement quickly turned into fear as the newborn had to be airlifted from Duluth to Minneapolis to undergo heart surgery.
Sullivan had his first heart surgery at three days old in November of 2011, and his second at six months, and while he was under the care of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. His parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House, and now they do what they can to give back to those who gave so much to them.
“To say that what we went through with Sullivan was terrifying would be the understatement of the year,” said Kile. “Had we not had a comfortable place like the Ronald McDonald house to stay, it would have been so much harder. We had a shower and a comfortable living room, and a place for family to wait.”
The Kiles’ stay at the Ronald McDonald house was not a one-time thing, but part of both of their trips to the Children’s Hospital.
“We got to stay with them both times Sully had surgery, and we were impressed with the people there and what they do,” Kile said. “Their motto is ‘Take care of your children and we’ll take care of you.’”
During the month of February and the beginning of March, Courtney and her husband Robert worked on a “Project Heart to Heart” donation drive for the Upper Midwest Division of the Ronald McDonald House.
The response to the donation drive has been somewhat overwhelming at times, she said.
Money, Target gift cards, toys and stuffed animals are just a few of the items that the Kile family will be delivering to the Ronald McDonald House on Easter weekend, giving just a little bit more time to those who want to donate.
In order to get word out about their fundraising efforts, Kile and her husband spread the news using Facebook. “The response has been excellent. Facebook has been a great tool to get the word out there,” she said.
This year’s fundraiser is not going to be a one-time thing for the Kile family, as they plan to do this for years to come.
Those who are interested in more information on the fundraiser may email ProjectHeartToHeart@gmail.com. Also, those who may want to donate to the Ronald McDonald House can do so at any time; it is not limited to this fundraising effort, Kile said, as their website generally lists top-needed donation items on any given day.
“The reason we want to do this is to remind people to do something nice for someone every day,” Kile said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as holding a door for someone or donating $5 to a worthy cause. People should do something nice every day. It all matters.”