CUTLINE FOR ZOE PIC- Marc Linden, shown with his daughter Zoe, is raising money to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland in efforts to give other families in need the same comforts afforded to his family. (Photo courtesy of Marc Linden)
By Ryan Kaczmarski
Bay Village resident Marc Linden will be running in the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run this weekend (in his daughter’s name) to bring hope and comfort to other families from the loss and heartbreak suffered by him and his family, and raise money for families in need through the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.
On April 21, 2011, Zoe May Linden was born to Christa Wares and Linden at Fairview Hospital. She never took that all-important first breath; and two weeks later, after being moved to the Cleveland Clinic, she passed away, devastating the couple.
“Zoe was born on her due date, so there were no problems prior to her being born,” Linden said. “When she was born – for reasons we will never know – the instinct to take that first breath, that life force that is supposed to take over when they cut the umbilical cord, just didn’t take over.
“In the time that it took to get her onto a ventilator, there was too much damage done to her brain, because of a lack of oxygen,” he added. “Unfortunately, what we realized was that there was too much brain damage and she would be hooked up to machines for the rest of her life.”
Two weeks after Zoe’s birth, the couple made one of the hardest decisions that anyone could possibly make. They let Zoe go.
During the time period between the birth and eventual death of their daughter, the couple was given some comfort by first staying in the Ronald McDonald House room at Fairview Hospital, and then moving to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland near the Cleveland Clinic, free of charge.
“They provide a great comfort for families,” Linden said. “When you are sitting in a room with your child for hours, and you need to take a break, you can go out and relax. You can kind of try to get some sleep – if you can.
“The fact that we could go and stay at the Ronald McDonald House meant that we could maximize our time to spend with Zoe. It meant a lot (to us).”
The charge to families to stay in a room at the Ronald McDonald House is typically $20 per day, but the couple got a nice surprise when it was time to go home.
“We were there for 10 days, and when I went in (to pay for the room) they said, ‘It was taken care of,’” Linden said. “I said, ‘What do you mean, it’s been taken care of?’”
Because of the donations that people give to the Ronald McDonald House, the couple’s room was already paid for.
Now the couple wants to give back to the charity that gave to them.
“We want to pay forward to give families the opportunity that we had, so they can also maximize the time they have to spend with their children,” Linden said.
Linden has set up a fundraising Web page, in Zoe’s name, to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, and has already raised more than $6,400 for the cause.
The couple has already raised enough money to sponsor a room at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland for a family to stay there for one year, free of charge. But they still want to give more.
In preparation for running the Burning River 100, Linden completed the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and completed 72 miles of the Mohican 100-mile race.
For more information about Zoe May Linden and her family, or to donate money to this cause, go to www.firstgiving.com and type in the keyword “4zoe”, or call the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland at 216-229-5758 and tell them you want to donate in the name of Zoe May Linden.
There is a great postscript to this story as Linden and Wares welcomed the addition of a healthy baby boy in Graeme Linden on July 1 to go along with Wares’ three other children.