"The House made our lives so much easier"

William Ashton Holt was born in Bolton on 20 January 2017, 13 weeks early weighing only 2 ½ pounds. At five days old he was transferred overnight to St Mary’s Neonatal Unit due to a perforated bowel. His family were left scared and worried, knowing they needed to stay close to him. Will’s mum Samantha shared with us her story:

“The thought of going home back to Bolton and leaving him terrified us in case anything happened. We were constantly looking at our phones, even if just nipping for a sandwich.

I never knew this world existed. With children staying in hospital, it never occurred to me: where do the parents stay and what do they do?
The hospital advised us that due to Will’s recovery time, they would try to get us a room at the Ronald McDonald House across the road. I’d never heard about the House, but had always wondered where the money from the collection boxes in McDonald’s went to.

To find out that we could have a room and be close to our son at such a tough time in our lives helped us so much. At the start of our journey it seemed each day we would get more bad news; brain bleed, chronic lung disease, issues with his heart. Going ‘home’ to the Ronald McDonald House across the road from our beautiful premature baby made this news that little bit bearable.

The House has such warm, welcoming staff who are there to help with simple things like where to do your washing, or by providing a shoulder to cry on. And what made a real difference is that they genuinely do care.

It may sound silly but something as simple as the smell of waffles served by a kind volunteer with a big smile would brighten a tough day. The House made our lives so much easier, especially with having a step-son, Joshua, to also take care of. When he would visit he could be entertained in the play room, and Mother’s Day was made special by being able to play football in the garden in between trips to and from the hospital.

I will always remember my first Mother’s Day. The thought that went into it from the House made such a difference to the fact that Will was in the hospital. Each mum was given a gift with handmade paper flowers, as well as cakes made by some volunteers.

So far we have been at the House for over 10 weeks out of the 11 weeks our son has been alive. Being close and able to be on hand for all his cares and feeds I feel has had a positive impact on his recovery.

We’re looking forward to taking our beautiful boy home, however I’ll never forget the support the House gave us and how much it has made a difference in making this journey bearable.”

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