Welcome to Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT & SE NSW's digital newsletter. 

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Message from Michelle

As we come out of another cold winter, and into the start of Spring, our thoughts are with all those in our community who are currently in lockdown as we work towards living with COVID-19.

We are so grateful to our sponsors, donors and supporters who have provided critical support to our Programs to allow us to continue supporting families through what is made an even more challenging time with COVID-19 restrictions. Due to the current restrictions in place, we are thankful to have our essential volunteers supporting our Programs and hold in our thoughts those volunteers who can’t support our families right now – we look forward to having you all back soon!

We are excited to be bringing our Red Wig Challenge to life again this year, the virtual challenge is a great way to enjoy the warmer weather. Our wrapped in love program has continued to visit the wards and put a smile on the faces of some sick kids and their parents. We hope you enjoy our spring edition of Behind the Big Red Doors.

Michelle McCormack

Executive Officer, RMHC ACT & South East NSW 

It's back on, our Red Wig Challenge for 2021!

Get outside this November for a fun and fit month of walking, running, riding or gliding to raise much-need funds to help us care for the families of sick children. 

You can go solo, do it as a family, get a team together or challenge your workmates to get up and #gothedistance.
Sign up, connect to your chosen tracking app and get your friends and family to get involved.  The funds raised will help us keep families close while they support their child in hospital. Promote your challenge, set your goals, get up and start registering your Kms!

Ronald McDonald Family Retreat Batemans Bay

It can be easy to forget what life was once like when your child has a serious illness.
Retreat to a picturesque location, where families can be together whilst enjoying peace and quiet and the fresh coastal air.
After life is affected by a serious illness, our Family Retreat provides a place for families to re-connect and re-charge.
Located in the beautiful seaside town of Batemans Bay, 160km south east of Canberra, our Retreat consists of two fully self-contained three-bedroom units, providing the perfect retreat for families with seriously ill children.
Every holiday is a chance to create new memories - fond memories of cherished moments with loved ones.  A holiday when your family needs it most, can make the memories all that more special. 

The Loring Family

In September 2017 our five-year-old daughter Kristy had been having some pains and was a little tired but was otherwise quite well. After some doctors’ visits and during an ultrasound, a mass was discovered. This mass turned out to be cancer- stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. It was a huge shock for our family. As we live in regional Tasmania we were sent to Hobart, four hours away, for tests before flying over to Melbourne for all of Kristy's treatment. During the first five months of treatment my husband Pete and our two sons, Adam and Cameron, stayed in Tasmania but regularly came over to visit Kristy and I. Pete and the boys moved over in March 2018 so we could be together as a family.

Kristy's treatment was quite intense. She underwent five cycles of chemotherapy, major surgery to remove the tumour and affected lymph glands, high-dose chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. All up the treatment took 13 months. Kristy was incredibly courageous and strong. We are very pleased to say that our prayers were answered, and Kristy is all clear from cancer!

Following Kristy's treatment, we returned home for a few months before deciding to take some time away as a family, a time we needed. We are so grateful to Ronald McDonald Family Retreat for welcoming us and allowing us to stay in their beautiful retreat at Batemans Bay. It was very homely, fully equipped and in beautiful surroundings. We enjoyed relaxing together as well as exploring the area. Thank you to the generous businesses and attractions that provided vouchers for our family, we thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Thank you again for your kindness and generosity.

Learn more about our Family Retreat

Click here

Meet Natalie & Paul Southwell

We joke that volunteering for us is a date, as so often we are ships that pass in the night with our busy schedules.  Time at the house is special for so many reasons; but it is a time for us to focus on others and supporting those who need it when life throws challenges.

We experienced a challenge over 27 years ago with our first born and were so grateful for our time at RMH in Newcastle. We first volunteered at the house in Newcastle not long after we took our son home; back then, he could join us given he was an infant.  We never forgot that RMH had supported us in our time of need.  When we moved to Canberra 2 years later there was no RMH and we volunteered as many parents do; as coaches, team managers, scout leaders, and in various school roles including in the canteen and uniform shop. Volunteering to support our community is something we both strongly believe in.  

Five years ago, it was a no brainer to return to volunteering at RMH to support a program we understand and believe in. The essence of the program remains the same - helping families with compassion and doing the little things that make life easier.  

Why do you both like volunteering together? 

We complement each other; Paul is great at cleaning but me, not so much!  I do love to entertain the children and make the important cuppa that helps family and extended family find the space to stop.  

What do you experience on any given shift?

We love working in the Family room because we connect with so many local families!  It is amazing the connections you find and can’t imagine before you sit and talk.  And even the cleaning seems easier with two!  A shift can involve many games of building with blocks, colouring, a good clean with two of us able to work so quickly, launder clothes, provide drinks, meals and snacks and simply have a chat!  Whatever we do, we know we are creating a space for families that is unlike any other hospital room.

What reward do you like getting out of volunteering?

Volunteering connects us; and as a practice it allows us to be part of our community. It’s one of the things we like about each other - and seeing each other interested to help and support makes us smile - and so maybe it is a bit like a date!

Click here to apply to volunteer


Have been incredibly helpful both in the House as well as our Family Retreat.  Shape was onsite at the Hospital building a new building.  While here they came to us and asked if they could spend an afternoon with us and help us with some things that needed to be done around the House.  They installed all of our new Smart TVs, hung prints, and a number of other odd jobs.  They are now heading down to spend two days at the Retreat.  While they were working on the building at the Hospital, they would have BBQs and meat raffles.  They raised money at these lunch events and presented us with a cheque for $2000. 


Have generously provided a bin service to the Family Retreat since it opened in 2003 to help give back to the community.

Territory Manager Daniel Cole has first-hand experience of the charity’s support for families, having stayed at the Canberra House when his youngest son was diagnosed with diabetes.

“The generosity of RMHC makes life easier for people with sick kids, whether they’re staying at the accommodation in Canberra or having a short break at the Retreat.”

Q1 Winter 2020 Newsletter

Q2 Spring 2020 Newsletter 

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