IN 2015, WHEN JODI AND KENNETH ADAMSON WERE REFERRED TO A RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME, THEY WERE UNSURE WHAT TO EXPECT.
At the time, their son Kearyn, also known as “Kicky”, was just two years old. Kearyn had been born with glaucoma, Noonan syndrome, autism and a genetic condition known as Neurofibromatosis, which can cause tumours to grow at nerve endings anywhere in the body.
Kearyn required a glaucoma specialist but unfortunately the Edinburgh-based family found that none were available in Scotland. They were referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital in North London and so made the journey south, to a place they had never set foot before.
A phone call with Ronald McDonald House Moorfields ahead of their arrived helped to put the family at ease. Upon arriving, they found the staff to be a brilliant help and that the rooms were exactly what they needed. They really liked the communal area in the House where they could talk to other families facing similar situations, which made them feel like there was still hope out there. Others gave them advice on how to navigate London, which was particularly helpful during their first ever trip to the capital.
Their first stay was brief as they came down for a check-up with a specialist. They returned two weeks later for Kearyn to have surgery, and then returned again two weeks after that for a follow up. This was typical of how they used the House, visiting regularly for the next two years, usually staying for a weekend at a time.
Without the House, only one parent would have been able to stay on the ward with Kearyn, rather than the whole family staying together just five minutes away. In fact their suite was so close by, hospital staff sometimes allowed Kearyn to leave the ward to go ‘home’ to the Ronald McDonald House, where he and his brother had lots of toys to play with. This gave mum and dad a chance to rest as they didn’t have to constantly keep Kearyn away from other patients! The House gave them feelings of safety and freedom of space that they never would have felt in a hotel. In addition, it meant they didn’t have to search for childcare for Kearyn’s brother Khaidyn each time they came down.
Today, four-year-old Kearyn has a tumour behind his right eye and his glaucoma is slowly causing him to lose his sight. Fortunately though, there is now a specialist in the family’s home town of Edinburgh so they no longer have to travel for treatment. Kearyn’s family are currently fundraising to get him a therapy dog which will help him deal with day to day life.
Since his first visit to Moorfield’s, Kearyn has endured many trips to hospital. The family feel that his time at the Ronald McDonald House really helped ease him into this process and that their stay at the House even helped Kearyn to heal. If ever any of their friends’ children are in hospital, they always recommend they check if a Ronald McDonald House room is available.
The family are delighted to hear that there will soon be a Ronald McDonald House in their home city Edinburgh, to help other families like theirs. Find out more here: www.rmhc.org.uk/our-houses/edinburgh