Home for 23 Years: Mum Theresa’s Story

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RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES UK HAS BEEN THERE FOR OUR FAMILY FOR THE LAST 23 YEARS.

When we were living in Malta, my eldest son Luke was misdiagnosed and needed urgent treatment back in the UK at Great Ormond Street Hospital. At the time, I had an even younger child, Sam, who stayed with me and my husband in their accommodation. It was so important to us to stay together as a family, being so far away from home and having Sam and Luke so young. It was also hard to hand over your baby to others and have no control, so having that support was key.

After many a week at Great Ormond Street, and lots of treatment, we eventually found out that Luke has a rare form of phenylketonuria called DHPR deficiency, a metabolic condition where the body doesn’t break down protein. Due to the late diagnosis, Luke also has added complications of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and severe brain damage.

“LUCKILY, THERE WAS A RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE WAITING FOR US”

My next son to come along was Thomas, and it turned out that he had the same condition as his brother, however, he was diagnosed when he was firstborn. Luckily, there was a Ronald McDonald House waiting for us and we stayed in the original Guy’s House located a short distance from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. Luke and Sam could both stay with my husband there, bonding with the other children. It became totally normal for them, and they loved playing with all the toys! It was a place we could all escape to when we were so worried about Thomas’ treatment. The House became our on and off ‘home away from home’ for the next 23 years.

15 years ago, we moved back to the UK and a few years later we had our youngest son Gabriel who was also diagnosed with DHPR deficiency. When Gabriel got older, he started to have some complications from the condition and needed to be hospitalised so investigations could be done. We were so relieved that we could rely on our ‘home away from home’, this time in a brand new House called Evelina London! Gabriel is now 13 years old, and is still having tests done, and we know that again we will need to ask for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK to help support our family, and we are sure to be welcomed with open arms.

“I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE FEELING OF WARMTH AND THE FEELING OF HOME THAT WE FOUND IN THE HOUSES”

Just being able to kiss our other children goodnight made a positive impact on our family. We could be close, and the House brought a little normality during such a hard situation. If we didn’t have the House, I would have been travelling and been apart from my whole family for the last 23 years on and off. I will always remember the feeling of warmth and the feeling of home that we found in the Houses…and the smell of the fresh laundry!

The House has made an unpleasant situation a little easier, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

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