Published: Feb 14, 2017
Sammy Speiss Hinkle’s family has stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware many times while Sammy underwent surgeries and treatments for his rare form of dwarfism at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Now, Sam and his family and friends participate in our K Run/Walk every year to support the House they called home during that difficult time.
In 2013, Sam’s Mom Suzanne wrote us a letter telling us her son’s story:
Dear Ronald McDonald House of Delaware,
For the third year in a row our team, “Sammy’s Sprinters,” completed the 5k on April 20th to support the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware in honor of Samuel Speiss Hinkle. Sam’s team was comprised of 29 members and collected over $2000 in donations. Sam’s mom, Suzanne Speiss, is a teacher at Vincent Farm Elementary in White Marsh, MD. A fellow teacher, Ms. Geisendaffer, had a class challenge to collect items from the Ronald McDonald House’s wish list! Following the race, Sam’s team delivered the many collected items to the Ronald McDonald House.
Sam was born on 9-13-04. He has a rare form of Dwarfism called Kniest Dysplasia. Sam sees many specialists at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, including Dr. Mackenzie in Orthopedics, and Dr. Lehman in Ophthalmology. Sam has undergone surgery at least once a year at duPont since 2009. Each time, we have relied on the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware to be our “home away from home”. Only one parent can stay overnight in the hospital, but it provides immeasurable comfort to all of us knowing the other parent is only a minute away at the House. Being well-fed and rested also makes it easier to deal with the bustle of post-op therapies. Not to mention Sam’s rare (but understandable) “stuck in the hospital” grumpiness. Sam loves staying at the Ronald McDonald House the night before his surgeries, and the night after he is discharged. The proximity of the House makes it easy to get to his immediate post-op exams.
This year, Sam insisted upon completing the entire 5k race independently, despite tripping, receiving a bloody knee and feeling fatigued. It took him over an hour to finish, but he power-walked the entire 3.1 miles and crossed the finish line amid cheers from his team, other race participants, and onlookers. As he crossed the finish line, Sam proudly proclaimed, “I did not come in last!” (His Dad and Nana were right behind him!)
We also want to mention that Sam has an older brother, Max, age 10, and a younger brother, Tom, age 8. All three of them refer to duPont as “Sam’s hospital”. Our whole family feels incredibly lucky to have access to a world renowned medical center, and the help and comfort provided by the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware.
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