In a nook on the fifth floor of the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital, is an old upright piano. The room is Chloe’s concert hall and the instrument is her Steinway. Sitting up straight, her hands melt into the keyboard as sonatas, concertos, and waltzes start streaming through the hallways.
Sure it’s practice, an exercise along the way toward winning her next piano competition, but it’s also comforting and consoling. It makes this House, her home.
When you are nearly 7,500 miles away, everything can seem foreign: the food, people, hustle and bustle of a new city, even the music. When the best care is literally a world apart from what’s familiar, having a ‘home away from home’ can help ease the transition.
For the past year and a half, nine-year old Chloe has been traveling back and forth from her hometown in Taiwan to Chicago with her family to receive critical surgeries for a cancerous Nevus that covers her chin. The journey has been more than long; it’s had a fair share of pain and trauma as well. But through it all, the Ronald McDonald House has been there, giving Chloe and her family a sense of normalcy and familiarity.  

The House doesn’t just keep Chloe’s family together; it brings home a little closer. There, Chloe’s mom can prepare some of her favorite dishes. There, she can play and laugh with other children. There, everyone seems to speak the same language – that of love and compassion. 

There, she recognizes the music. Because it’s her own. 
This fall, when Chloe was in town again receiving treatments her little sister Annie got to come too. Having her Annie there, keeping her smiling, made surgery and the healing process a little easier this time around. And having a partner at the piano made her melodies even sweeter.   
When you keep a family together, a child heals faster and copes better. But in Chloe’s case, being surrounded by family doesn’t only create a happy, healthy ending; it makes a beautiful duet.