I am lucky, Roo was born a healthy happy baby and has never needed to be hospitalised for any form of treatment in the 4 years since I became a mother. I count myself lucky as I know I would be a nervous wreck on the inside if she had to go to hospital, and I cannot imagine how scary it can be for a child going into hospital for any form of operation.
I remember when I went into hospital as a child to have my ears pinned back. I was about 6 at the time and I still remember being terrified. Unaware of what was going to happen, unsure of what people were trying to do to help me and ultimately worried I would never see my mum and dad again. I was lucky in that mum and dad were able to stay with me during my time in hospital, but there are many children throughout the UK that aren’t lucky enough to have their parents close by because of the logistics of where they may be treated.
Ronald McDonald House Charities though is helping to get rid of the scariness that kids can go through when going into hospital. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is an independent Charity which aims to provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at hospitals across the UK, enabling families to stay close to their child and maintain a degree of normal family life. I hadn’t heard of the charity until I became a mum and I was unaware of this side of what they do and the amazing difference they are making to families across the UK that should ultimately be together at times of crisis.
Every day many seriously ill children are treated at specialist hospitals far away from home, and to make hospitals less scary the Charity are providing free family accommodation close to the children’s ward for these families. Nothing is more important than family no matter what age you are, and for me as a mum just being able to stay with Roo rather than leaving her in a hospital alone and frightened would make a tremendous difference to my state of mind, her wellbeing and ultimately her recovery if she was ever taken ill.
For those families that have been lucky enough to benefit from Ronald McDonald House Charities you can read about the amazing difference it made to them on their website. Take for instance the Swain family. Baby Georgia was born with a bowel condition and spent the first 14 months of her life in hospital. Her parents found a second home at Ronald McDonald House Oxford.
After being transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, almost an hour drive from their home, Becky and Andi Swain spent the first two weeks sleeping on the hospital ward, while their other daughter Mia was at home, being looked after by her grandparents.
‘When we found out about the Ronald McDonald House, which was right on top of the ward, we couldn’t believe what an amazing facility it was. We could just pop upstairs at any time and grab a bite to eat, have a wash or just take some time out. These things you normally take for granted are priceless in such stressful situations’ says Becky.
The whole support network that was there for them at this crucial time just took away some of the stress and I am sure there are countless other families across the UK that would love to benefit from the Charity’s ‘home away from home’ scheme.
To help raise awareness of this campaign Ronald McDonald House Charities have launched the Littlebox campaign. Littlebox illustrates beautifully how a child would feel if they had to be apart from their family in hospital and the Charity are asking people to help spread the word about their campaign and if possible donate or fundraise to help raise much needed funds.
Take a look at the brilliant Littlebox video below and please if you can support this amazing and worthwhile cause in some way, even if it’s just to RT my blog post and spread the message.