Ronald McDonald House Charities celebrates 30 year anniversary

Ronald McDonald House Charities celebrates 30 year anniversary

On 7 April 2021, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Northern NSW celebrated 30 years of providing a home away from home for families and their seriously sick or injured child.

Since the doors of Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle first swung open in April 1991, families with a seriously sick or injured child have found a place to call home during some of their darkest days.

CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW, Ross Bingham says Newcastle House provides support and comfort to more than 600 families each year.

“Over 30 years, tens of thousands of feet have walked the corridors of the House, back and forth from the hospital to the sanctuary of the House and the comfort of their room – day and night,” Ross said.

“Doors and arms have been opened, welcoming smiles and words providing calm in the chaos.”

Also celebrating his 30th birthday this year is Ben. His family were one of Ronald McDonald House Newcastle’s earliest guests.

For Ben’s family, Ronald McDonald House Newcastle has been like a second home. Ben was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just two years of age and his family were forced to leave their home and community three hours away in New England.

Seven years later, Ben’s family came back to Newcastle for urgent treatment when his tumour changed.

They once again stayed in the Newcastle House while he underwent surgery. While the family’s stay feels like a lifetime ago, it’s still fresh in their hearts.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities came through like family. They supported us when we needed it the most. We will never forget that,” Leanne said

Over the recent months, Ronald McDonald House has also been a home away from home for Elizabeth and her mum Sharon. At just 14 months old, Elizabeth was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

After receiving the devastating news, the family’s life was uprooted so Elizabeth could get the urgent medical care she needs.

Being over five hours away from their family home and with COVID-19 quarantine regulations leaving Sharon on her own without her family network in Brisbane, she faced one of the hardest times of her life as a parent.

“The staff and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House are life-savers. They are my fill in family who have created a warm, loving and caring environment for Elizabeth and me to come ‘home’ to every day,” Sharon said.

RMHC Northern NSW has just one 30th birthday wish and that is to continue for another 30 years to help families like Ben and Elizabeth’s.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities has only been able to continue with the help of families, supporters and generous donors over the past three decades,” Ross said.

“This year we have a few exciting activities planned to help celebrate this milestone with the community and thank them for playing such an important role in keeping our doors open to families during their greatest time of need.”

Help make their birthday wishes come true and support Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW by purchasing a Helping Heart online.

This heart will go towards much-needed improvements to facilities and allow Ronald McDonald House Charities to continue to offer the services that support the wellbeing of families and sick kids across our region.

To purchase a Helping Heart or find other ways you can support Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW, head to their website.

IMAGE |Sharon, Elizabeth, Ben and his mother, Leanne (left-right).

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Newcastle, located in a peaceful bushland setting on the grounds of the John Hunter Children's Hospital, provides a 'home away from home' to families of children receiving hospital treatment for serious and life threatening conditions - whether from disease, injury or a congenital condition. We strive to provide an atmosphere where the familiar routines of home life can continue as much as possible through stressful and difficult times.  

Since opening the doors in 1991, close to 1000 families call us home each year in our 12 comfortably furnished family bedrooms and 6 self contained units. Communal areas of the House are as much about sharing journeys as they are about sharing facilities, with families, staff and volunteers providing a caring and supportive environment. We are grateful for the continued support and goodwill of the wider community that ensures the House continues to make it possible for families to stay together at a time when they need each other the most.

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