Logan and Kahlea Family 310 Night Stay at Ronald McDonald House Canberra
Photo: Logan (just over a year old), Kahlea (Mum) and Mikkel (Dad) on their 310th day at Ronald McDonald House Canberra. 

Ronald McDonald House Canberra Bids Goodbye to Longest Stay Family

In November 2022, little Logan went home for the first time ever, since being born 310 days before the fortunate day.

The baby boy was diagnosed with gastroschisis antenatally and came into this world with abdominal and gastro complications in December 2021. He required multiple surgeries and ongoing treatment at the Canberra Hospital that lasted almost a year. During this time, bub’s parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House Canberra to be close to their son, with their home being over 4 hours away from the hospital.

It was a pleasant surprise when the family that had been expecting to spend Christmas and Logan’s first birthday at the House found out that their bub was ‘ready to graduate’ from medical care.

For over 10 months, Canberra became the family’s home, with our House providing them much needed accommodation, food, and care. The new parents were incredibly happy when Little Logan was cleared to go home after breaking the record at the House for our longest staying family and were very grateful for the support they had received during their stay.

“Being able to stay here in the House, and not having to live out of a suitcase, having a place to call our own, for these past 10 months, and knowing that Logan is only a flight of stairs away, made such a difference. It was comforting to say the least. And having other families that are going through a similar situation, learning on each other, talking about each other’s experiences – it was what we needed to get by," says Kahlea, Logan's Mum. 

"We’ve made friendships here that will go on from out of this House to a long time. And the staff and volunteers – you could not find a more energetic and bubblier group of people to make you just feel better, especially after a difficult day. As soon as you walk through those big red doors, it’s just a completely different environment, you forget you’re in a hospital., and you don’t understand the importance of it until you experience it yourself. The impact of this House will be something we’ll remember and be grateful for, forever,” explains Kahlea.

Duddy family 310 nights longest stay at Ronald McDonald House Canberra - Man, Woman and Child
Little boy Logan with mum Kahlea on graduating from Hospital - Ronald Mcdonald house Canberra
Play therapy with baby at Ronald McDonald House Canberra

While Kahlea spent every day with her sick son, Mikel travelled four and a half hours back and forth from Leeton (NSW) to look after the farm, staying for a few days in Canberra when he could.

The couple say the financial and emotional support they received during that time has been invaluable and made a very difficult time bearable

"It was so homely and everyone made us feel welcome. They made us home-cooked meals a few times a week and there was always someone there if you had any questions or to point you in the right direction for help. Every time I came down for the weekend to my 'second home' - as I started to refer to it over the last year - it just allowed me to wake up, have breakfast and walk down the hall to see my little man without the need for expensive accommodation or a four and a half-hour drive. And of course, Kahlea being able to stay with Logan the whole time was a blessing," says Mikel. 

As the family said goodbye to the House and the hospital earlier in December 2022, the smiles on their faces were infectious. It was almost a miracle that they are able to be home to celebrate little Logan's first brithday - though they will be heading to Sydney in the new year where we he will undergo hip surgery. 

“We were worried that we’d be spending Christmas and his birthday in hospital, so we’re happy to be home. Logan is going really well, moving around a lot more and getting into everything. It feels amazing that we will be with the family for Christmas instead of being in hospital," says Kahlea. 

Unfortunately, not everyone can say the same over the holidays. There are many families who will be spending the festive season with their children in the hospital. Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT & SE NSW will do its best to provide them with accommodation, food, gifts and respite during this time and beyond. 

Mikel encourages Canberrans to support the charity's Christmas appeal, saying “you never know when you or a loved one will need it".

When a child is in hospital, it can have a devastating impact on families. As well as the uncertainty and fear, there’s added financial and emotional stress for families who don’t live close to the medical care their child needs. 

For Canberrans with sick or injured children spending long periods of time in the Hospital, our charity provides food and respite at our Family Room, as well as a free holiday getaway in Batemans Bay to support bonding time for Canberra-based families experiencing prolonged medical care for their children. 

You can gift a night of respite or find out how to donate toys or festive treats to families in need via the Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT Christmas Appeal.

Donate to support families in need

All funds will be go towards our Chapter's Programs that support families with children that are seriously ill, injured, need ongoing treatments/medical care, or are born prematurely with complications.

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Contact Info

Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT & South East NSW 

PO Box 635, Mawson, ACT 2607, Australia

Phone: (02) 6281 5894

Email: reception.canberra@rmhc.org.au

Ronald McDonald House Charities Australian Capital Territory & South East NSW is a Registered Charity (Canberra and South East NSW House Incorporated ABN 28 589 286 011) and a Public Benevolent Institution endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Taxation Office. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible in Australia.

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