The House enabled us to share a smile across the world

The House enabled us to share a smile across the world

Guest Blogger - Susan Jones

In October 2014 we travelled to Southampton Children’s Hospital for our son William’s surgery. He was born with a Congenital Heart Defect and Down’s syndrome and we always knew we’d return for a fairly short stay in hospital. We had heard of the incredible facilities that the Ronald McDonald House would offer and we waited with anticipation for the opening. Christmas holidays were approaching and we knew that if the House was open then it would mean that our girls could come and spend the school holidays with us in Southampton. On 9 December 2014, the opening day, we were offered a room and later that day we moved in. Excitedly we called the girls and told them the news and started making plans for a family Christmas. William's condition was still shaky and we didn't know if he would even be with us at Christmas but we hung onto hope and shopped for presents, decorated a little tree and William's cot and turned our room at the House into our new home.

Before we knew it, Christmas was upon us and desperately trying to hold it together for each other and our daughters, we looked to the amazing facilities offered in our new home away from home. Christmas morning the children were delighted to find presents left outside the room and this allowed them a glimmer of joy. We opened presents together in the room and then all headed over to the hospital to be with William. Trying to hold with custom, we decided to take advantage of the extensive cooking facilities in the House and planned a good old Christmas dinner. Although William was unable to join us, we had a gigantic boost in morale and retained a semblance of normality by traditionally marking the occasion and been able to have my mother join us from Cumbria. The free Wi-Fi provided in the House allowed us the opportunity to speak with loved ones and share a smile across the world.

Since returning home in February this year, William has gone from strength to strength. When we think back to this time last year it is hard to believe it all really happened to us. This Christmas we will spend the day opening presents, cooking Christmas dinner and thinking about all the lovely families that we have met on our journey so far.

Give the gift of family this Christmas

At Ronald McDonald House Charities, we’re committed to providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation and support for families with children in hospital. Your donations allow us to give sanctuary to families during agonising times. Our ability to do this positively impacts on families' lives in so many ways; alleviating their stress and anxiety, easing financial worry and keeping them close to their seriously ill child. These are just a few of the ways in which a Ronald McDonald House can help.

Help a family just like Susan's by supporting our Christmas campaign.

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