By Amanda Mitchell

When Katie Sperry was pregnant with her twins, she anticipated her girls would come early, but she and her husband, Jonathan, were not prepared for them to arrive 12 weeks early. On a snowy evening in January 2018, Katie’s water broke, and she and her husband made the treacherous drive from their home in Pittsburg, Kansas, to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri. The next day, Adele and Ivy were born. Formerly a nurse, Katie knew the girls would be in the neonatal intensive care unit for a long time. She and her husband searched for ways they could remain close to the hospital and their girls. The day before Katie was discharged from the hospital, they learned about Ronald McDonald House and felt instant relief.

Katie and Jonathan spent 58 nights at Ronald McDonald House. Katie was initially surprised by the close proximity of the house to the hospital. They also appreciated not having to worry about meals and snacks throughout the day. Ronald McDonald House provided it all. The volunteers and staff were so gracious to their two older children, Vivienne and Jude. While the kids stayed with family in Pittsburg, the house was a fun place for them to visit and play. Katie shared, “Ronald McDonald House didn’t just provide us with delicious meals, a bed and a warm shower; they truly cared for us and our babies. It was so comforting to have so many friendly faces asking about us and how the girls were doing. They go above and beyond to make their guests feel welcomed.”

Today Adele and Ivy are happy, healthy and attending preschool. Katie calls the girls her miracle children, as they have not experienced any major, lasting health issues. Katie believes the more time she and Jonathan spent at the hospital to bond with their babies, the better they did. Ronald McDonald House kept their family close during one of the most difficult times.

You are invited to join us for our 20th Annual Gift of Light, Gift of Love virtual Christmas lighting celebration. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, visit to watch a series of videos shared weekly, which will feature different holiday musical performances by local students and artists. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the charity and consider your support of our charity’s largest fundraiser. Don’t forget to drive by the house to see the beautiful display as part of your holiday light tour. As you gather with your loved ones this holiday season, please consider ways you can Share the Joy with families whose children are being treated at Freeman Health System or Mercy Hospital Joplin.