On 7 April 2021, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Northern NSW celebrated 30 years of providing a home away from home for families with a seriously ill or injured child.
Since the doors of Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle first swung open in April 1991, families have found a place to call home during some of their darkest days.
The charity has since opened an additional house in Tamworth, three Family Rooms, and a Family Retreat in Foster.
CEO of Ronald McDonald House Northern NSW, Ross Bingham says Tamworth House provides support and comfort to more than 150 families each year.
“Thousands of feet have walked the corridors of Tamworth House, back and forth from the hospital to the sanctuary of the House and the comfort of their room – day and night,” said Ross.
“Doors and arms have been opened, welcoming smiles and help from staff has provided calm in the chaos.” The house provides more than just a place to sleep.
For little Cohen and Cooper’s parents, Emily and Ben, the support from RMHC staff and families has made a world of difference.
Cohen (5) and Cooper (18 months) both came into the world prematurely and were each diagnosed with life-threatening respiratory and swallowing complications.
They’ve been visiting Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle and Tamworth since they were born and will continue to do so until they’re both 18. Their hometown of Yarrie Lake is just over two hours away from Tamworth House.
“The support makes all the difference. You don’t go to bed staring at walls wondering, because there’s always someone there you can talk to,” Emily said.
“You’re not going back to a lonely, empty hotel room from a big day in hospital. You’re going home.”
For Emily, Ronald McDonald House has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her parents relied on the service when Emily and her brother faced their own life-threatening conditions when they were first born.
Emily knows Cohen and Cooper will need Ronald McDonald House for many years to come.
“Any illness can affect both Cohen and Cooper’s condition significantly, so we need to be extremely careful about their environment,” Emily said.
“We have complete trust that Ronald McDonald House provides a hygienic space across all their services, and we’ve used a lot of them.”
RMHC Northern NSW has just one 30th birthday wish and that is to continue supporting families, like Cohen and Cooper’s, for another 30 years.
But they cannot do that without the support and generosity of the community.
They’re asking businesses, individuals, and community groups to purchase a Helping Heart from their website to raise money for much-needed improvements to the facilities and to continue the services that support the wellbeing of families and sick kids across the region.
To purchase a Helping Heart or to find out how you can support Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW, head to their website.