Red Friday flag sales benefited St. Joseph family

The Juhl family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City for 28 days to stay close to their newborn son who was in the hospital with serious health issues.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 4:54 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- As the Kansas City Chiefs were beating up on the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, winning 40-26, plenty of fans were flying their commemorative Chiefs flags they had purchased at area McDonalds restaurants the previous Friday.

At the same time, the Juhl family of St. Joseph family was thankful for the fans' passion. 

All the proceeds from the sale of the $5 flags went toward funding of the Ronald McDonald House. The family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City next to Children's Mercy Hospital for four weeks while their newborn son was staying in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit due to serious medical issues.

Steve and Bethany Juhl knew that the birth of their fourth child would have complications.

"Jetson had some congenital brain abnormalities," said Bethany Juhl. "He required brain surgery when he was four days old."

Jetson needed special care and spent the first 28 days of his life at Children's Mercy. Luckily for the Juhl's, staff from the Ronald McDonald House offered their help.

"I never even knew what it was," Steve said. "It wasn't until we were staying at the Ronald McDonald House that it hit home what a service it is, what an outreach it is and how helpful it is for famlies going through a stressful time.

The Ronald McDonald House provided Bethany a free place to stay next to the hospital so she could be close to Jetson while he was dealing with so many medical issues. On the weekends, Steve and the couple's three children, Jackson, Jayla, and Jacey, who range in age from 3-7, would also come down to stay at the facility.

"They always have something going on there," Steve said. "There's always something fun for kids, which with these guys, as you can see, it's very important to keep them entertained and busy."

The Juhl's say they saved thousands of dollars on food and lodging along by staying at the Ronald McDonald House. They say it also brought a peace of mind being able to stay so close to their new son.

"The amount of money that it would have cost us to do any other option would have been prohibitive," Steve said. "The fact we were able to get free meals, we couldn't have done it without them."

The Ronald McDonald House foundation has had a long partnership with the NFL. Staff say the connection with the Chiefs is a natural. The first Ronald McDonald House opened 45 years ago. Today, there are 250 worldwide.

"Our kids were entertained by all the fun stuff they've got there. There was a lot of fun stuff with the Chiefs," Steve said.

The Juhl family remains cautiously optimistic about Jetson's future even though he is officially blind and deaf. The baby had his first birthday last week and will soon be fitted for a cochlear implant to aid in his hearing.

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