Big Heart, Big Spirit

Rylee S.In 2012, Rylee was in a serious four-wheeling accident in Utah that left her severely brain damaged. The four-wheeler crashed on top of her and cut the oxygen supply to her brain. Her mother kept her alive until paramedics arrived on the scene. That was 2 years ago. Rylee has spent over a year at ChildServe in Johnston, IA.

ChildServe is a not-for-profit organization that partners with families to help children with special health care needs live a great life. They offer a range of services including residential long-term care, to outpatient therapy services, to inpatient rehabilitative medicine. The Des Moines Ronald McDonald House is seeing an increase in the number of families with patients being treated at ChildServe.

“She can’t talk but communicates in various ways. She winks. She sticks out her tongue. She smiles that smile. She moves her leg when watching soccer or hockey on television and someone scores.”

Rylee’s dad, Larry Swartzel, spent 91 nights at the Ronald McDonald House. However, due to Rylee’s unique long-term care at ChildServe, Larry decided to move to Des Moines where he can be close to his daughter. He hopes he can see Rylee play soccer again someday.