Every day of the year thousands of people from Ronald McDonald House Charities are working to help seriously ill children and their families.
And the cornerstone of the charity’s work are the 16 Ronald McDonald Houses (RMH) scattered across Australia.
From Perth to Queensland, Hobart to Townsville each state has a house, and in New South Wales six RMH are operating.
Attached to major women's or children’s hospitals, these special houses provide a home away from home for children and their families.
“Each house supports the families with a child in the hospital which the RMH sits next to and it’s based on the specialties of that hospital,” Ronald McDonald executive officer Rebecca Walsh said.
From Perth to Queensland, Hobart to Townsville each state has a house, and in New South Wales six Ronald McDonald Houses are operating.
“For example, Canberra RMH is predominantly mums and bubs, high risk pregnancy and special care nursery.
“Westmead Hospital has a very big child oncology unit, so Westmead RMH is mostly kids with cancer.
“And Randwick is a mixture of paediatrics, oncology and also transplants.”
- Go behind the doors of Ronald McDonald House Orange and learn about this facility’s amazing work. A special 24-page feature will appear in the Daily Liberal on Wednesday.
Who is helped by Ronald McDonald House Orange?
The Orange chapter of the charity supports families using a range units from the local hospital.
The majority of new families staying at Orange’s RMH have a child in paediatrics (48 per cent of new families), the child and adolescent mental health unit (21 per cent) or the special care nursery for premature births (9 per cent).
Other families bunk at the Orange facility when they are dealing with maternity or high risk pregnancy conditions (17 per cent).
Families who turn to RMH Orange during times of high stress and great need are coming from far and wide.
“Families are referred to us from 86 per cent of NSW,” Ms Walsh said.
Banjo and Archie’s story
Since their doors opened in 2015 Ronald McDonald House Orange has assisted more than 400 families in their time of need, including mum Danielle Kinsela, with two-year-old twins Banjo and Archie.
- Go behind the doors of Ronald McDonald House Orange and learn about this facility’s amazing work. A 24-page feature will appear in the Daily Liberal on Wednesday.
In 2016 the Canowindra resident gave birth to premature twins, Archie and Banjo in Nepean Hospital and had to stay in Sydney’s Hope Cottage for nine days while her babies were treated.
When the twins were well enough they were transferred closer to home, admitted to Orange hospital, but this presented another worrying issue for the new mum.
“I was so distressed as to how ... I was going to feed and visit them by having to drive over from Canowindra every day. I just didn’t know what to do,” Ms Kinsela said.
However, a telephone call from the social worker at Nepean Hospital to RMHO lifted a huge burden from the young mother’s shoulders, allowing Ms Kinsela to stay at RMHO meaning her babies were close by.
“It has been proven how much better premature babies do with feeding, growth and recovery when they are able to be close to their mothers and held. It is also important as a new mum to be close to your babies. It is something that, thankfully, I was able to do with the help of Ronald McDonald House,” she said.
“It was great to be able to go back to a nice, warm, comfortable environment where you just stop and take time to deal with everything happening.
“The facilities, the kitchen, the cosy rooms, along with the amazing staff were just fantastic,” she said.