When Hope was born at just 24 weeks she could fit in the palm of my hand. I slept in a chair at the hospital for the first three weeks of Hope’s life because there was no other option available to me. Then a room became available at the Ronald McDonald House Camberwell and I stayed there with my family for about six months.
Guest Blogger: Mark
It’s a truly amazing charity. The team at the House are a lifeline for somebody to talk to after spending hours each day in a hospital environment. They’re always there to help.
As you may imagine, Hope’s first few months of life were very intense and she had numerous health issues, one of which was chronic lung disease. This won’t change until she’s five when lung tissue rejuvenates in every child. The doctors and staff at King’s College Hospital are fantastic and gave Hope the very best care and attention, allowing us to move Hope to a hospital nearer home six months later.
However, during those uncertain months, to be given a lovely room with its own bathroom at the Ronald McDonald House allowed my family to function with some semblance of normality at a truly stressful time.
In addition to the wonderful staff, the communal kitchen and lounge areas meant that we were able to connect with other families going through a similar time with their children. We remain friends with some of the people we met there.
We were at the Ronald McDonald House over Christmas, when Hope was just a month old. The staff made sure that we were able to celebrate Christmas with our eldest daughter, Faith, with a beautiful tree, presents for everyone and a cheery, festive atmosphere prevailed. Faith was even allowed to help the staff on reception, so she was definitely made to feel part of the Ronald McDonald House Charities “family”.
Now, four years later, Hope has overcome her many obstacles and attends nursery with her friends. She’s still quite tiny, but certainly makes her opinions known!
I didn’t know about the Ronald McDonald House Charities before we needed to use it. It was unquestionably a lifeline for myself and my family. Everybody has a different story in the Camberwell House and everybody tries to help each other.
I don’t believe I will ever be able to repay the House for what it has given us, but I am a huge champion of the Charity and do whatever I can to show my appreciation of their dedication to families like mine – whether that is by donating items to the House, or fundraising. My aim is to raise £2,000‐£3,000 per year and I’m happy to say that this target is always “smashed”.
I had a lot of friends and acquaintances friends who didn’t know about the Ronald McDonald House Charities before…well, they do now!