"A room at the House is the best gift a parent can be given"

Nel was three years old when she developed pneumonia and needed specialist hospital treatment, which left her family facing a 180 mile round trip to visit their daughter. Here mum Manon tells their story and how they were able to stay close to Nel at the toughest time.

Guest blogger: Manon James 

Nel was sent to our local hospital in Aberystwyth, Wales, due to a chest infection. After having scans and X-rays, doctors told us that she had pneumonia and a large amount of fluid on her lungs. She was flown to the Children’s Hospital for Wales by air ambulance, which came as a huge shock to all the family. We had to leave immediately, without time to pack any clothes or personal belongings. 

Leaving my two boys was difficult. Luckily we had the support of family and they stayed with my mother and father for the first few nights before joining us. It was a stressful time as we didn’t know how much fluid Nel had on her lungs or how bad her pneumonia was.

One of the nurses on the ward asked us if we would need accommodation and explained about the facilities of the Ronald McDonald House. When I saw the House I was totally gob smacked. It was truly amazing and it immediately made me feel so much better about everything.

The House was perfectly styled, modern, light and cosy. Our bedroom was large, with room for the boys to come and stay with us, and the bathroom was huge with a large power shower – just what I needed to keep me fresh throughout our stay.

The staff were so friendly and helpful. I only had the basics with me and minimum clothes, but the staff found a hairdryer that I could borrow which made me feel human again!

My two sons absolutely loved coming to stay. It was truly lovely that they could join us and we could spend time together as a family. They were totally mesmerized with the facilities and enjoyed making breakfast and washing the dishes in the morning. The kitchen had everything that you could think of and everything was spotlessly clean.

We ended up staying seven nights while Nel was in hospital. We wouldn’t have been able to leave her on her own. Without the House we would have had to sleep by her side on the ward which would have been extremely difficult.

This is a charity that really does make a difference to the lives of families with children in hospital. Having a base of such high quality to pop back to for naps and showers made a huge difference and kept us all going. It’s such an important cause and a room at the House is the best gift a parent can be given at a very difficult time.

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