Please give today so families like Ned's can be with them when they need them the most
Little baby Ned was born full-term, on the 29th of October 2020.
His parents, Emma and Dan, were told at their 20-week ultrasound that Ned had a bowel complication, and they would need hospital care after his birth.
Their expected 2-week stay soon turned into 16 weeks - 113 nights.
“It was a very difficult time, knowing that Ned needed surgery straight away, at 19-hours of life he underwent his first operation,” says Emma, “and then he ended up having a total of four in the time we were at Canberra.”
The family had initially planned to find accommodation near the hospital to stay throughout Ned’s long recovery, and bear the financial burden to be close to their ill child. But then the hospital informed them that their family was eligible to stay at Ronald McDonald House.
“We were just so lucky that Ronald McDonald House was here really, with all their support emotionally and financially,” says Dan.
Continuing, Dan adds, “Ronald McDonald House was right here. There were meals cooked. It was around Christmas time, we had presents for our boys. We didn’t have to think about doing any of our own shopping, the donations that were flowing in through the place were unbelievable, to people popping in, doing your washing, drying, laundry. If you needed to sit for 10 minutes by yourself, everybody here was aware of your situation… It’s just such a great place.”
Ronald McDonald House Canberra is a 100-metre walk from your bed, to your child. 24-hours a day to provide support to families within the House’s care, and for Emma and Dan, this was ‘fabulous’.
“Having this place was just incredible. It was a home away from home,” says Emma, “You’d be up on the ward all day with your sick baby and the last thing you’d feel like doing is coming down and cooking a meal, and just to have that person who donated meals in the fridge ready to go or someone’s cooked and little hampers sitting on your bed. It just made your day.”
It is the little things that make the biggest difference at Ronald McDonald House. After a rough day, or some hard news, the thoughtfulness of other people, people you might not even know, is what makes the House so special, and its role so important.
“The staff are unbelievable. By the time it had come for us to leave, they were our family. They were here every day, just to provide that support, comfort, and to make you a cup of tea or share your story or what was happening that day with them and they would just listen,” continues Emma, “All of them were just absolutely amazing.”
Generosity, kindness and understanding will always be found at Ronald McDonald House.
“It put a smile on our face at such a difficult time,” says Emma.
Without the presence of Ronald McDonald House, many families like Ned, Emma and Dan would face countless hurdles, with the financial strain of finding alternate accommodation and resources, the physical distance of not being able to pop upstairs to see their sick child, and the emotional strain of what would feel like an endless battle without a strong support system around you.
“It’s a real family environment here, everything’s family focused, to keep your family together,” says Dan, as the House allowed the family the opportunity to stay close to their other two children, Jesse (5) and Archie (3).
The House also provided the family with a sense of safety, allowing Dan to go back to the farm for periods of time knowing Emma could safely go upstairs at any point in time, day or night, to check on Ned, knowing that she would be safe within the walls of both the House and the hospital.
“She’s not walking outside to her car, she’s not walking to other accommodation,” continues Dan, “She can just step out of here, have a coffee, have a shower, and go straight up at any stage.”
“If you are donating your money to Ronald McDonald House, it is definitely going to a good cause,” says Dan, “We’re proof. We come from a small country town, we’re not city people, and everyone who has donated to make this place here and actually available for not only country people but for everybody to use, is an absolute credit to people. Couldn’t be sincere enough about it.”
Since 2020, Ronald McDonald House Charites Canberra has been a home away from home for Ned and his family. For Ned, Emma and Dan, the House has kept their family close together for 113 nights, and will continue to support them whenever they may need it.