Markley Family Finds Home Away from Home

The Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is honored to be called "home" by many of our guests. Below is note of gratitude from Sarah Markley, who stayed at the House with her daughter, Emma, as she went through a pain management program at a local hospital. 


"Hello, my name is Sarah Markley. For the past three weeks I have been staying here at the Ronald McDonald House with my oldest daughter, Emma. Almost a year and a half ago, Emma  began with a headache that has never gone away. We live in a suburb outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and are very fortunate to live near many outstanding hospitals. Emma was seen at DuPont Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She turned 18 and was then able to be seen at Jefferson University Hospital. Despite the amazing care, Emma’s headache refused to go away. She was diagnosed with a chronic headache disorder called New Daily Persistent Headache, one that is untreatable and results in a  lifelong condition of daily chronic pain. 

It was on the one year anniversary of Emma’s headache that my husband, John, and I began to realize that we could not let our sweet daughter continue to allow this headache to rob from her life. It was then that I read about the IMATCH program, a pain program specifically for chronic headaches, at the Cleveland Clinic. In May, John, Emma and I drove close to seven hours to meet the doctors and learn more about the program. It was during the drive home, we realized that this was the exact thing that Emma needed. She needed to learn how to live again despite daily, constant 7 out of 10 pain. The problem would be "How we were going to afford to live three weeks in Cleveland to get Emma that help?"  Emma, you see is the oldest of our four children and over the past year and a half, she has had ER visits, two hospitalizations, and an extensive amount of doctor visits and many new medicines to try. All of this already weighed heavy on our wallet.

When I shared all of this with the receptionist at IMATCH, she immediately suggested that we take a look at the Ronald McDonald House. Pricing out hotels even with a Cleveland Clinic discount, our stay would have been well over $3,000. Then add meals on top of that. We all agreed that the only way that we could get Emma the help she needed was if we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. The day before we were to leave, we got the call that told us there would be a room in which we could stay. The next morning at 6AM, Emma and I set off to Cleveland,Ohio. 

... the only way that we could get Emma the help she needed was if we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. 
— Sarah Markley
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Our time here has been an absolute blessing and we have taken nothing for granted. While Emma spends her days learning ways to cope and live again, I am busy writing thank you cards with sincere gratitude for everyone involved at the Ronald McDonald House, from the milk donation, to the washer and dryer company. We are most grateful to everyone involved both past, present and future at the House. It has been a wonderful home away from home. You have enabled us the chance to give Emma tools for survival, ones she will be taking with her in two weeks when she leaves for college to study psychology and hopefully someday help children who also live with chronic pain. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts." - Sarah Markley


Without donors, Ronald McDonald Houses cannot help families be near their children during unsettling times. You ensure that the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland is ready and able to help these families during their time of greatest need…no matter where they are from. Help us continue to serve our families.