Adult and child holding hands wearing red and white striped gloves

The Tipper Family

Family photo of mom, dad, and daughter


Linnea is a strong-willed, independent 5-year-old who loves sunflowers, worms, and her kitten, Fluffy. And while she has blossomed and grown into a leader who’s sure of herself on the playground, Linnea’s life didn’t start with such certainty. Linnea’s mom, Audrey, experienced what she called “major problems” with water retention.  A fainting episode one night made Audrey and her husband, Nick, realize they needed to check in with their doctor.

“She was about 33 weeks pregnant,” Nick said. “We hadn’t finished our labor training yet.”

They later learned Audrey was experiencing preeclampsia, a condition that, if untreated, can be fatal to the mother and baby. Audrey was given a series of shots to accelerate the development of Linnea’s lungs. It was clear she had to be delivered.

About 36 hours later, Linnea was delivered via C-section, just shy of 34 weeks and weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces. Audrey ultimately spent a week in the hospital; Linnea would need care longer. A blue-green bilirubin light treated her jaundice. A feeding tube in her nose kept her nourished. Living about a 30-minute drive from Sparrow Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan became Nick’s refuge.

“I never understood what it was all about until it was flat-out in our face,” Nick said. “In that moment, I understood.”

Three weeks after she was born, Linnea could go home with her family. Today, she has blossomed into a kindergartner who loves playing outside in the dirt, chasing frogs and toads. Audrey and Nick are keenly aware of the value of the care they received during their stay at the House. In fact, Audrey now works as a House manager one weekend a month, staying in the House and welcoming other families.

Through the generosity of donors, our House has helped countless families have a warm, therapeutic place to call home during their time of need. Charitable donations allow more than three-quarters of families to stay free of charge, providing more than 1,700 nights of lodging each year. An average stay is 15 nights. The Tippers stayed for three weeks.

“What we received in our time of need was top-notch,” Nick said.