Gramps vs. Ramps: Family upset by parking fees at UIHC - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gramps vs. Ramps: Family upset by parking fees at UIHC

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The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics isn't somewhere families hope to spend a lot of time, but for families like the Leohrs, it can be an everyday reality.

Eight-year-old Kylee has leukemia, and the family spends a lot of time at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital -- where the Leohrs spend up to $18 per day on parking, or $58 for a weeklong pass.

They know not every family can afford it.

"It's the people that I meet there -- that the mom and the daughter are dropped off by the dad because they can't afford to park their car," said Kerri Leohr, Kylee's mother.

The Leohrs started asking questions, wanting to know where the money goes. They've been told the rates are necessary for the university's parking and transportation department to break even.

"My main concern is Kylee, obviously," Kerri said. "I don't have the energy to fight this fight like he does."

"He" is Kylee's grandfather, Tom, and Tom wants proof that parking fees have to be as high as they are.

So Tom started a Facebook group called GrampsvsRamps. It now has more than 300 members.

He said he wants families with kids at the hospital to park free, but if that's not possible he'd like the university to prove why it can't happen. He also hopes to help other families in any way possible.

"I'm learning things about chemo that I never understood, and hope that many families don't have to," said Tom.

A university spokesperson said the rates were necessary for budget reasons.

The Leohrs are now asking legislators if anything can be done to subsidize parking at the hospital, which is not currently being done.

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