The Koh Family

In 2007, Lina and Eugene Koh’s path to each other began as they volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House of Houston. A seemingly ordinary task of cleaning a spoon used for making mac and cheese turned into a playful disagreement. Eugene recalls, “Lina was on washing duty while I was adding cheese sauce to the boiling pasta. She was adamant on cleaning the spoon I was using,” he says with a chuckle.

After their cooking session, Lina and Eugene engaged the children in a lively scavenger hunt game at the House. Little did they know that their paths wouldn’t cross again for another six months. Eugene spotted Lina studying in the library at the University of Houston. “I was prepping for finals. He dropped by to say ‘Hello,’ and just before he left, he asked me out on a date,” Lina shares. “We’ve been together for fifteen years now. We finally tied the knot in 2018, welcomed our first child, Livi, in 2019, and our son, Milo, joined us in 2021.”

Little did the Koh’s know that after having their son 2 ½  years ago, their lives would come “full circle” with Ronald McDonald House. What began as two young adults volunteering with friends and colleagues to simply “help out” families in need, has unfolded into young parents finding themselves on the other side of the spectrum as guests of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD).

Due to Milo’s condition of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the Koh family travels outside of Houston to see doctors. They’ve found great expertise and compassionate care in Dr. Diana Castro, a pioneering Denton based neurologist and neuromuscular physician. “We wanted to find a doctor we’re comfortable with and with Milo being so young we don’t want a doctor that will age out of their career soon,” says Eugene. “The longevity of Dr. Castro being his doctor is beneficial especially given she has patients participating in a clinical trial for the first-ever gene therapy treatment approved by the FDA, which Milo may become eligible for in a couple of years.”

Lina and Eugene have been moved and inspired by their experience at the House that love built in Dallas. “Such great hospitality,” Lina says. She notes that she is grateful for the three meals a day served at RMHD, access to playrooms and toys, splash pad, media room, and an extensive library. “Bringing the kids in these spaces cheers them up and plays a big role in keeping them busy between appointments, which can last four to five hours. And the length of Milo’s appointments will only increase as he grows older.” Not having to worry about food, transportation, or toys is tremendously valuable to Lina. “Every small gesture here makes a big impact,” she continues.

For the Koh’s, RMHD is better than checking in at a hotel. The House cares for and understands them. According to Eugene, the meaningful conversations that take place here between guests and staff or guests and fellow guests, wouldn’t happen at a hotel. The kind-hearted individuals of the House help them get through the bad days.

The family particularly loves that RMHD never “rushes you out,” as families stay as long as they need to. This is critical as Milo’s future therapies and treatments may require them to stay up to six months. “That would be a major financial burden if not for Ronald McDonald House. God has blessed us in so many ways,” Lina says.

Everything Eugene and Lina have faced over the last few years has helped them build a stronger bond. “Lina and I are completely opposite – she’s the introvert, I’m the extrovert,” explains Eugene. She manages the emails, paperwork, and scheduling appointments, while he handles taking the kids to all their doctor’s visits.

“All that we’ve endured has only served to strengthen both of us and the foundation upon which we stand. We are so grateful for the love and support we’ve received from our family, friends, and community, and above all, the gift of being able to see the good in things and people through this journey.”