On Sunday 22 July, Mancunian, Steve Burne, was joined by over 300 of his friends, family and business associates to open the first three of five new family rooms at Ronald McDonald House Manchester, a facility providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation and support for families with children in hospital. Steve and his supporters have raised almost £350,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities, a campaign that started earlier this year after Steve was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
At 47 years old, Steve was told by doctors that he had a rare soft tissue cancer. Steve wanted to leave a lasting legacy for his family and decided to dedicate much of his time to supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities, an independent charity that keeps families together, close to their children in hospitals across the UK. Steve has been involved with the Charity for over 15 years, becoming Chair of the Ronald McDonald House Manchester Board of Governors in 2013.
Steve’s friends and family had initially set out to raise £250,000 but exceeded that target, reaching almost £350,000 with donations still coming in. The donations have been used to convert three living spaces in the Charity’s Manchester facility into large family rooms, each accommodating up to six people, with two bedrooms and an en suite bathroom.
The bedrooms, which have been named the ‘Steve Burne Rooms’ will provide more space, compared to standard bedrooms, for families who are away from home for a long time. They will also enable a hospitalised child to stay on occasion with their family in the House; this is often a welcome break for the child who spends all their time on the hospital ward. Plans are also underway to convert two areas into four-bedroom rooms later this year, as well as an ‘area of reflection’ on the roof terrace of the House, a place for families to have some quiet time to themselves.
Steve Burne says: “When I was in a coma after my cardiac arrests, my boys would virtually camp out in the hospital, to make sure they were near me, and it was distressing for them each time they had to leave the bedside or the critical care unit. I had just been told that my cancer was terminal, so it was such a difficult time for them and they were told to expect the worst. So, when I came out of the coma, I thought about the families that we have in our House and whether we could do more? Even as an adult, I needed my family around me, so to think about children feeling alone, or parents not being together near their child is devastating.”
The McDermott family are the first family to move into a Steve Burne Room. Mum, Emma says: “We’ve just moved into one of the Steve Burne Rooms with our son, Sean (10) and daughter Megan (5). Their baby sister has been in hospital since 1 October 2017 and is likely to be here for a few more months yet as she is trachi vented so discharge takes up to nine months, which hasn’t started yet. To see my children so happy in our new room brings to me to tears; the extra space is so valuable for us as our whole life has moved to Manchester from our home 35 miles away. It was an honour to meet Steve and I hope we made him smile.”
Mike Fairley, House Manager at Ronald McDonald House Manchester, says: “Steve has been an absolute inspiration with his drive and determination to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities, meaning that we are now able to help more families than we have ever have been able to. The support that he continues to give the House and the team within is always exceptional. Steve really is making a difference to the support that we are able to offer the families from Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and St Mary’s Neonatal Unit.”
To find out more about Ronald McDonald House Charities visit www.rmhc.org.uk
For more information, pictures or interviews, please contact Lauren Gotlieb on 07956 119 197.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- To date there are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK and in 2017 they helped support over 8,000 families with children in hospital.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers, including McDonald’s customers, without whom it would be unable to continue its work.
- The charity was founded in 1989 and has been keeping families together for almost 30 years.