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WATERLOO, Iowa --- A weekend retreat for families with a child or children with disabilities is making a return appearance in the Cedar Valley.

Up With Families has partnered with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at the University of Northern Iowa to host the Up With Families Weekend. The event is scheduled for April 9-10 at the Ramada Hotel in downtown Waterloo. The organization asks for a $20 donation, though the weekend costs between $300 and $400 per family.

Co-chair Ronda Eick said she attended the event with her husband and fellow co-chair Bret Eick in 2003 and "we've helped every year since."

The event, which gives families a chance to network with others, is geared for those whose children have been newly diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease.

During the weekend the family will stay at the hotel and participate in events that are focused on the parents, children and family.

All siblings are encouraged to come and will even have the opportunity to talk about how their life is affected because of the family dynamic.

Parents can listen to a keynote speaker and participate in panel and group discussions.

On Saturday evening they will be treated to a private dinner and entertainment.

"When my husband and I went the first time we hadn't eaten out in over a year without our children because we couldn't find the care they needed," Ronda said.

Volunteers and a registered nurse will be present throughout the weekend to help care for the children and their medical needs.

"This is a great way to get away together as a family," said Katie Hooper, a senior and member of the UNI organization.

"And these families enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend together."

For more information about the event, contact Ronda at

Registration is limited to 20 families and volunteers are still needed.

Donations and sponsorships to cover the cost of the cost of the event are also needed.


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