“It’s like we’re going into battle - the mums come together to fight for the children”
Mums Justine and Lindy formed a strong bond while staying in our House in Brighton back in 2011.
Our Ronald McDonald House in Brighton is just a short walk from the iconic Brighton Pier but mums Justine Johns and Lindy Jackson-Cox never got time to venture down to the seafront when their children were being treated in hospital.
Justine stayed at the House for over three and a half months after giving birth to twins Gabriel and Raphael. Born nearly 12 weeks prematurely on 5 April 2011, the boys had to stay in hospital until they reached full term. Gabriel was discharged and was able to stay with his mum in the House but Raphael suffered with the effects of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that infects his intestines and was kept in hospital.
Lindy was in the House for more than eight months, after giving birth to her twin daughters on 2 November 2010. Both Iris and Isobel had tracheas fitted to help them breathe and needed 24- hour care to ensure that their tubes didn’t get blocked. Lindy also has a five-year-old daughter called Hope, who stayed with dad Alex at home in Peasmarsh during the week and visited the House most weekends.
When we spoke to her in 2011, she Lindy said: “For me, taking the girls anywhere requires some planning as I need carers and all the equipment for the tracheas,” explains Lindy. There can be up to eight families staying at the Brighton House at any one time, plus 10 more families on the top floor of the hospital. In the House, Justine and Lindy have really bonded with each other and the other mums staying there.
“There would be a lot more cases of postnatal depression if it wasn’t for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the support from the other mums,” says Justine. “Some days you can feel so down and lonely, but we all help each other through the bad times.”
“We try to bring hope to the new mums who come into the House,” says Lindy. “I’ll never be able to explain in words how I would have coped without the Charity.”
“We will see our children grow up together,” concludes Justine. “Having sick children is what creates a bond between us and, thanks to the House, we will be lifelong friends”.
Since then, we caught up with Justine and Lindy to find out how things were going. Justine said, “The bond has never been broken, even though we are all scattered throughout Sussex. We all know each other so well as we went through it all together.”
Lindy added, “We are doing well, Iris no longer has a tracheostomy and has started walking. She is still fed via a gastrostomy. Isobel still has her trachy but only needs oxygen occasionally now.
We keep in touch via Facebook with several families from the Brighton House and meet up occasionally. My eldest daughter, Hope, and some friends of ours did a Santa Dash in December to raise money for the Brighton House. They were so supportive and it's such an amazing charity, I can't express my gratitude to them enough.”