Ronald McDonald House
The Journey of a Lifetime…
With Courage, Hope, Intention, Love and Faith
Meet the Doyles of Kailua–Kona: mom Tricia, dad Derek and their boys, Clint, 22 and Kent, 14. Both sons are thought to have a congenital heart condition that has nearly claimed their lives several times. Without warning, their hearts can suddenly stop beating and immediate CPR is required to get them started again. Their other son Luke, 25, who lives back in Australia where the Doyle’s are from originally, is finishing his final year of university work and also working with the government’s Disability Services Commission. Luke does not have the disorder that Clint and Kent have.
The Doyles were on Oahu because Kent had collapsed on January 6 and needed open heart surgery to insert a defibrillator and try to stabilize his heart rhythms. A few days after his surgery, doctors agreed to let him out of the hospital as long as they stayed near the hospital and kept him quiet and rested. “The case manager suggested Ronald McDonald House,” says Tricia. “We found that the aloha spirit and home–away–from–home atmosphere there made it an ideal place for Kent to recover and for us as a family to be there with him.”
It has been a long road for Derek and Tricia. It all began when their second son Clint had his first episode when he was two. A perfectly healthy and active child, he gave no indication of any heart problems. The family’s sheep farm in the Western Australian bush provided him with an infinite number of play options and like other kids his age he eagerly explored the world around him. The day he collapsed at Tricia’s feet in 1989, life changed forever for the Doyles. They performed CPR and got him to the local hospital as soon as they could, but precious oxygen wasn’t getting to the brain and there was damage.
They were stunned by what was happening at first, but they soon realized they had to take charge of the situation. Thus, began their long and sometimes difficult quest to bring Clint the highest quality of life possible despite the dire prognosis. “Aussies never give up,” Tricia says with a smile.
For years, doctors were not able to pinpoint Clint’s condition, and felt that if Derek and Tricia had another child, the baby would not have the same heart problems. So, their youngest son Kent was brought into the world in 1995 and was fine until, in 1999 at age four, he too collapsed and his heart stopped. Just like his brother Clint, Kent suffered brain damage before he could be revived.
Tricia and Derek refused to listen to negative opinions and those who repeatedly told them that their boys were beyond help. Their faith in God empowered the Doyles to love each other unconditionally, and through their strength of intention, they have had the courage to hope for miracles and dream the “impossible.”
Clint, as it turns out, is far from helpless—the young man has already started his own florist company, been a motivational speaker, has a wonderful portfolio of artwork, and has even been featured in art shows.
There are big hopes in the family that Kent’s condition will stabilize too, and that he will be able to bloom as well. He wants to be a chef one day and have his own restaurant. “It’s been his passion since he was very young,” Tricia recounts. “Now it has become a very important part of his recovery.” As his brother Luke said recently, “His cooking is a great joy to him and brings him healing and happiness.”
Now, their amazing path has taken the Doyles to Hawaii. After house sitting for a friend in Kona three years ago, they decided to stay. “We fell in love with the place and the people,” Tricia says. “We are embraced by and embracing the spirit of Aloha, which we find to be a remarkable and palpable love, a spirit of genuine caring and outreach that is simple and generous in every way. It makes one feel blessed and at home, just like we felt at Ronald McDonald House.”
During Tricia Doyle’s journey, she has traveled from being a rural sheep farmer and teacher to being a person on a very different sort of mission. Her life experiences have revealed to her a need, and her faith has given her the strength to tackle the task. Through her consulting business, Beyond The Limit Consulting, Inc., Tricia is working with families, community organizations, schools, hospitals, and universities to encourage people with disabilities to discover their gifts and strengths.
One thing is for sure, the Doyles had quite an impact on the staff and other families staying at the House. Their positive outlook, devotion to one another, and belief that everyone deserves to be respected and given the chance to participate in and embrace life, continues to inspire and motivate others around them.
Letter From the Doyles
Jan 28, 2010
To all at Ronald McDonald House on Judd Hillside:
A most enormous thanks and a huge appreciation to the staff and families here who have made this “home–away–from–home” for us – myself (Trish), Derek, Clint and Kent. An emergency medevac flight from Kona to Queens on 7th Jan. had Mum and Kent at Queens and Derek and Clint looked after by RMH. When Kent left Queens we had a beautiful peaceful place to have him heal and recover until Dr. gave him clearance to go home to Kona, after his heart surgery. We have enjoyed so much the peaceful environment, the spoiling with all the yummy goodies which have been abundant AND mostly the friendly, caring and supportive staff and United Nations family of families at RMH.
We will be forever grateful and sing RMH praises for hospitality, care and outreach that was a lifesaver for us. The connection as we engaged with other families was healing and helpful to us all. The parents that we met from Maui, Guam and Fiji created much joy in the kitchen and around the table as we all sat and told stories and opened our hearts to our new friends Chris and Christian, new in the House.
Please pass on our thanks to the generous donors who give financially, volunteer time and give food and spirit which is palpable as a healing balm in this “home–away–from–home”.
We have been lifted up by angels at RMH and Thank God for this wonderful place and staff; God Bless you all abundantly.
You are in our hearts now.
Trish, Derek, Clint and Kent Doyle