“Why this charity is so important to parents and children in hospital”
Jules Cartwright (Mum)
Jules Cartwright stayed at our Oxford House when son Ollie, now 18, was being treated at John Radcliffe Hospital for complex medical issues. Here Jules remembers how the team at the Oxford House helped her as a mum at an incredibly difficult time.
"My son was born with Pfieffers syndrome which means he has complex medical issues. He spent most of his early years up to the age of about 13 in hospital. He's had 158 operations, and during and after each of these he's needed his mum.
I don't know about you, but before I had Ollie I would never have given a thought to where parents stayed when their children were in hospital. Gone home? Slept in a chair? And now that local hospitals are being closed and services centralised, it means you have to travel further to a hospital when your child needs to be admitted.
Well, before Ronald McDonald House Oxford opened, if your child was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital, you put your name down for one of the eight beds available for parents. Four sets of bunk beds. One male bedroom and one female bedroom.
Once, when I had managed to bag a bed when Ollie was in intensive care with meningitis, I went back for my second night there to find all my stuff outside. I didn't realise that you needed to keep putting your name down to get a bed. I slept in my car that night in the hospital car park. I was too tired to drive and Ollie was too ill for me to be so far away.
So it was fantastic when Ronald McDonald House Charities opened their Oxford House when the Children's Hospital was built, and parents like me could stay for as long as we need to.
What does this mean to mums like me? It means I can face the world clean and fresh, after a night of sleep in a clean comfy bed. It means I can get away from CBeebies and watch the news. It means I can face the doctors with my makeup on. It means I have fresh clean clothes. It means I can cook myself a meal. It means I can have time to think. It means I can have peace and quiet. It means the rest of the family can be with me and be with Ollie. It means that I look like a normal mum. It means that Ollie has his mum close by.
To put it in perspective, a donation of £25 pays for a family to stay in one of the bedrooms for one night.
But being near to my boy whenever he needs me? It’s priceless."