Guest Blogger: Caroline Sinclair, Fundraiser at Ronald McDonald House Oxford
When the opportunity came up to visit Texas on holiday, my first thought was whether it might be a good chance to visit a Ronald McDonald House while I was there. After all, Ronald McDonald House Charities was founded in the US 40 years ago and they have a strong presence across the country. E-mails were sent, introductions were made and so on Tuesday 1 April I found myself ringing on the doorbell of the 30 bedroom House in Austin, Texas. I was given such a warm welcome by the team and was able to see how they have teams of volunteers from local groups and companies coming in to cook lunch and dinner for the families every day. I found out a lot about how they help families across several hospitals in the Austin area, with Family Rooms available for the families who don’t have a bedroom in the House.
I was expecting to feel inspired by how much bigger everything was- after all it’s well known that everything is bigger in Texas! The most surprising thing was hearing from the various members of staff how much we have in common, from chatting about the little touches they try to put in the rooms for families such as crochet hats for NICU babies, to snacks they get donated so that families who have been on the ward all day have an alternative to spending all their money on vending machine food. The Austin House was built in 2007, the same year the Oxford House opened, and like us Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas is looking ahead to expansions to cope with increasing demands and help more families across a wider area. It was lovely to meet everyone there and reinforced the great feeling of being part of a global charity, working hard to make families’ lives easier while they have a child in hospital- no matter where they are.