When Katie Love was six months old she had open heart surgery. The Ronald McDonald House was a comforting place for Katie's mom, Andrea, as it allowed her to be steps away from her daughter. Two decades and one open heart surgery later Katie and her sister Kim found a unique way to give back to RMHC and help other families - they ran a marathon.
When Katie and Kim decided to run the 2008 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, they wanted to do more than finish; they wanted to run on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities. RMHC held a special place in their heart, providing Katie's mother a refuge when Katie was in intensive care 20 years earlier. "The Ronald McDonald House was a comfortable, clean, affordable place within steps of my baby," Andrea recalls. "I was worried sick about Katie, and everyone at the House was so welcoming and comforting. It felt almost like home."
Never having run a marathon, the sisters spent months in training. Their older sister, who does triathlons, was their coach. Meanwhile, they worked hard to fundraise; setting up information tables outside of grocery stores and restaurants, handed out pamphlets, and even sending a personal appeal to all the family's neighbors. And then both completed the 26.2 mile marathon.
"It wasn't until we were driving to the marathon that morning that it really hit me," Katie recalls. "I am going to run a marathon. And I'm not in a wheelchair. It was amazing to realize how different my life could have been."
Katie graduates from college this month and plans a career in environmental conservation. Who knows? She might run a few more marathons down the road.
If you are interested in running for Team RMHC in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, know someone who would, or would just like to donate and support the RMHC Team or runner, learn more today!