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Gerdin family gifts $300K to Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. Luke’s

CEDAR RAPIDS– Hundreds of families with hospitalized children will be the beneficiaries of a major gift from the Gerdin Family Foundation. The family is gifting $300,000 to St. Luke’s Foundation for the creation of the Ronald McDonald Family Room®, which is currently under construction on the second floor of St. Luke’s Center for Women’s and Children’s Health. The Foundation will use $100,000 of the gift to open an endowment to support future capital needs as there will always be a demand for this type of facility for the families of critically-ill children.

The Gerdin Family Foundation has a long history of giving in the Corridor. It began with the late Russell Gerdin, founder and former CEO of Heartland Express Inc. in North Liberty. His wife, Ann and her children, Mike Gerdin and his wife, Nicole; Julie Durr and her husband, Eric and Angela Janssen and her husband, Brian have continued the legacy of giving.
“When we learned about the Ronald McDonald Room® being built at St. Luke’s– we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of because it’s such a great cause,” said Julie Durr. “As a mom, I can imagine how wonderful this Ronald McDonald Family Room will be for parents of a hospitalized child. They have so many worries; one of those concerns should not be where they are going to stay. This family room will provide many parents a place to stay and the ability to remain close to their child, which is every parent’s number one priority.”
“The best medicine for children is to have their family by their side as they recover in the hospital,” said Mary Klinger, St. Luke’s Foundation President. “The generosity of the Gerdin family is wonderful. Their thoughtful gift will benefit so many Eastern Iowa families who find themselves in a stressful situation. It will allow them a place to regroup and recharge at the hospital and be just steps away from their sick baby or child. Research shows family togetherness aids in the healing process.”
In August, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois and St. Luke’s announced a partnership to build a Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. Luke’s. The family room will be a home away from home where families with children receiving treatment in either the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or pediatric unit can go to rest and rejuvenate. The nearly 1,440 square foot Ronald McDonald Family Room will include three sleeping rooms, two shower suites, laundry, kitchen, dining and a living area. Other amenities such as a family meal program and a coffee and cookie cart are also planned. The common areas will be available to families 24-hours a day, and staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room® at St. Luke’s is expected to open in early 2015.