Imagine having to leave home immediately to move to a place you don’t know for your child to receive urgent medical care. You have no place to stay and no support network around you for an indeterminate period.
That’s where Ronald McDonald House and the Greater Charitable Foundation continue to help through their Stronger Together partnership.
In 2022, Greater Charitable Foundation’s funding of $299,000 generated savings of $555,235 for families with a seriously ill or injured child being supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern New South Wales.
Families like Tara and Will’s from Inverell.
At just three months old, their son Weston was flown from their hometown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Children’s Hospital (JHCH) in Newcastle. With a diagnosis of a rare disease and blood disorder, and the immediate future of their family unit in chaos, they were in complete turmoil.
Carrying only basic belongings and living out of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Ronald McDonald House (based onsite at JHCH) provided a home away from home within five days of the family arriving in Newcastle, enabling them to focus on what was important, Weston’s recovery.
Along with siblings, Poppy and Hunter, the family arrived at Ronald McDonald House in mid-October 2021 and stayed 163 nights, before having to move to Ronald McDonald House Westmead in Sydney for a bone marrow transplant.
Weston was admitted to Camperdown Ward to receive his treatment and after 50 days as inpatients, the family was discharged back to Ronald McDonald House in Sydney, where they remained for a further two months.
Tara said the help Ronald McDonald House provided was incredible.
“Weston is our little warrior and although we have a long road ahead with lifetime challenges from his disease, we have been given the best possible start and the greatest support along the way,” Tara said.
“For our family, Ronald McDonald House has been an absolute saviour: when we arrived in Newcastle, we had so many obstacles to battle and the basic need for accommodation was not in the forefront of our minds.
“We had very little with us after having to abandon our lives so abruptly, but Ronald McDonald House provided us with most of the things we required to survive comfortably.
“Nothing is ever too much trouble. We feel utterly blessed to have been able to call Ronald McDonald House home for so many months.
“This service is invaluable, and we will be forever thankful.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern New South Wales Chief Executive Officer, Ross Bingham, said Greater Charitable Foundation funding makes an enormous difference to the charity’s impact.
“As a community owned and operated charity, we rely on the generosity of the community and the significant support we’ve received from Greater Charitable Foundation has helped thousands of families in a time of great need.
“Based on independent research by Social Ventures Australia, for every $1 invested by the Greater Charitable Foundation we’ve been able to deliver $3.60 social and economic value back into our communities,” Mr Bingham said.
“That can be through our accommodation services at the Ronald McDonald Houses in Newcastle or Tamworth, the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle or at Gosford Hospital, or they can also enjoy some well-deserved vacation time at our Family Retreat in Forster.
“We are privileged to enjoy a well-established partnership with the Greater Charitable Foundation and look forward to the relationship continuing long into the future.”
Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Anne Long, said the Stronger Together partnership is helping families to remain connect at a critical time for all.
“Working with Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW means we can directly and positively impact the lives of families with a seriously ill or injured child,” Ms Long said.
“Caring for a sick or injured loved one can be incredibly stressful, particularly when it’s a child needing care and the inevitable financial burden families face makes things even harder.
“By alleviating their financial burden, we can help these families to focus on the health and wellbeing of their sick or injured child and, importantly, each other.”