Recently I spent a day at Ronald McDonald House Manchester to try and lend a helping hand and spruce up the garden in time for spring. From the moment I went into the House and was given a tour, I was surprised at the atmosphere and the set-up.
The stand out moment from my visit to the House was definitely ‘Waffle Wednesday’. It’s basically a chance for all the families staying in the House to meet together in the dining room and all get a waffle and a brew made for them by one of the volunteers.
Just talking to some of the families who were staying in the House and giving them a chance to interact with other families really seemed to be a chance for many of them to take their mind off the real reason why they have to stay at the House. Not only that, it gives families the chance to relax which is so important. It was nice to see so many children and parents happy and getting the chance to do something a little bit different than sit around on the wards all day.
The impact Ronald McDonald House Charities has on so many families whose children are taken into hospital is amazing. Simple home comforts like a sofa and a TV to sit and relax with your family is one of those little things that a long stay in hospital can really cause you to start to miss.
I know how important it is to have your family close to you when you’re in hospital. When I was 13 and had to go in and out of hospital for treatment and surgery of a brain tumour.
When I was in hospital it was very different, there wasn’t a Ronald McDonald House in Manchester at the time, and it was very chaotic for my family having to take it in turns to come and visit and stay on a fold away bed next to me on the ward. It was especially hard for my mum, who had to make her way to the hospital each day via two buses each way just to come visit me.
We only lived the other side of Manchester to where the hospital was but it would take my mum up to two hours travelling just to come visit me.
Along with this, there weren’t really any facilities at the hospital back then for me to spend time with my family/visitors other than to go down to the hospital canteen, which after a few days in a row got extremely boring.
Looking back over it all now, I honestly think a Ronald McDonald House is such a big support for families, especially those who have to be there for their other children whilst on long-stay in hospital.
The House would have been a big support for my family when I was in hospital and I want to help families just like mine stay together.