We spoke to Victoria Gill who stayed at Ronald McDonald House Camberwell with her husband Jag when their son Hari was born with complications, here is what they told us about their experience.
"In July 2013, our son Hari was born at King’s College Hospital with a bowel condition called gastroschisis and quickly transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The condition meant that Hari was born with part of his bowel protruding from a hole in his abdomen.
Hari’s condition was not a shock to us – it was detected during our first scan – but that didn’t matter. It remained a very distressing and frustrating time for my husband Jag and I, particularly as we are from Essex, 40 miles from the hospital.
Thankfully, nurses on the ward referred us to Ronald McDonald House Camberwell the day Hari was born and we were over the moon to hear that a room would be available the next day.
Hari made very good progress from the start and thanks to the excellent care he received at King’s; he was discharged after five weeks. During the time he was in hospital, we were able to see Hari as often and for as long as we wanted (being only five minutes from the hospital in Ronald McDonald House Camberwell) and it also meant we could get some rest ourselves.
Staying at the House meant we were able to stick to an almost normal routine; sleeping, eating and Jag going to work meaning that we could spend a lot of time together. Family and friends were also able to come and visit without being confined to the hospital waiting room – they would have dinner at the House with us or just relax in one of the lounges. All of the staff at the House, without exception, were welcoming and supportive throughout and knowing that someone was there 24/7 was very comforting.
We got on well with other families staying in the House and we could obviously relate to them as we were all experiencing similar distress. Despite this, there was always a positive atmosphere amongst all the families which again helped us and we made some friends who we have stayed in touch with.
We have gone on to raise awareness of the Charity amongst family, friends and work colleagues. Jag recently completed the Great South Run (10 miles) and raised £1,500 so far. We also intend to hold a bake sale and a raffle at work before the end of the year to say thank you."