Twelve businesses give the gift that can keep families with sick kids together at Christmas

Twelve businesses give the gift that can keep families with sick kids together at Christmas

While many businesses are wrapping up for the year, twelve local businesses are putting their hand up to match community donations to keep families together at Christmas while their sick child gets the critical treatment they need.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW has asked local businesses to claim a day in their #12DaysRMHChristmas campaign.

The campaign is designed to help families like Vinnie’s. After a prolonged seizure that happened at day-care earlier this year, Vinnie was urgently flown to hospital to get the vital care he needed for a rare brain swelling that has never before been seen in Australia.

All Vinnie’s mum had with her was the clothes on her back and her handbag.

Thanks to Ronald McDonald House, Vinnie’s mum and dad were able to stay nearby to help Vinnie through his treatment, which kept them away from home for four months.

With Vinnie now confined to a wheelchair and facing up to 20 seizures a day, the family are unsure where they will get to spend Christmas this year – with loved ones or again at Ronald McDonald House so Vinnie can get the help he needs.

Local business, Strategic Group, was one of the first to get on board to help families like Vinnie’s at Christmas.

CEO, Chris Boswell, said Christmas should be a time of laughter and fun spent with loved ones, but for some families Christmas can feel very different.

“Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families, like Vinnie’s, who often leave everything with just the clothes on their back so they can get the immediate medical help their child needs,” Chris said.

For every donation that the community makes to help ease the stress of supporting a sick child going through vital treatment in hospital, each business participating in the #12DaysRMHChristmas will match that amount up to $1,000 each.

Another local business, Bridges Lake Macquarie, was quick to jump on board, with Director Daniel Irving saying that it was an easy decision.

“Ronald McDonald House do an amazing job keeping the Christmas spirit alive and providing the comforts of home so parents can be near their child in hospital. It’s so easy to take for granted the traditions we enjoy every Christmas and not think about those who don’t even know where they’ll be Christmas Day,” Daniel said.

“We are proud to play our part and put our hand up for a good cause at a time when families need it the most.”

CEO of Ronald McDonald House Northern NSW, Ross Bingham said their accommodation is often full over the festive season, but families sometimes don’t find out until the last minute that they will be there.

“Ronald McDonald House provides more than just a place to stay. We keep families, like Vinnie’s, together and give them the chance to make memories that are all the more precious because of their circumstances,” Ross said.

The staff and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House go to incredible lengths to ensure that the whole of December can be a special time for families. But Ross said that they couldn’t do it without the support of the community.

“A monetary gift could help provide Christmas dinner for the families in our houses, gifts for a seriously ill child, accommodation for a family who have travelled far to get the care they need, and even basics like toiletry items, underwear and pyjamas, which families don’t often have time to grab,” Ross said.

“With the support of businesses like NCP Printing, Orica, GWH, McKiernan Real Estate and of course Strategic Group and Bridges Lake Macquarie, who are matching community gifts, any donation made can go so much further. We thank them for being involved.

“We still have a few spots left for local businesses, so if you would like to be involved, please reach out to us,” Ross concluded.

For more details or to be a part of the #12DaysRMHChristmas, visit their fundraising page.

IMAGE | Vinnie with his Mum, Nicole, at Ronald McDonald House.

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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