"I couldn’t believe the support that I was being offered"

Guest blogger: Emily

When Samuel was taken to hospital his family didn’t know how they were going to cope being so far away from family and friends. Here Mum Emily shares her story about how the House made a difference at such a tough time. 

Samuel was just nine months old when he contracted Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Bronchiolitis. He was first admitted to our local children’s ward but after 48 hours his condition deteriorated and the decision was made to put him on a ventilator as he was struggling to breathe. He was then transferred by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where he spent six days and a further three days in the High Dependency Unit.

When I found out that Samuel would be transferred to Oxford I was really upset; the hospital is a long drive from our home and I had no idea how long he would need to be there. I felt like we were both going to be stranded away from our family and friends – an even more daunting prospect considering how poorly Samuel was.

When Samuel first arrived at the PICU the nurses told me about the Ronald McDonald House and that I was on a waiting list. I was so happy when the next day they told me I had been offered a room.


When I stepped into the House I was very emotional! It had been a very traumatic previous few days, I had hardly slept and hadn’t showered or changed clothes. To be welcomed at the door of the House by such a friendly face and shown around the amazing facilities and then given my room (with an en-suite and toiletries) was amazing – I immediately felt better and more positive.

Being able to come back to the room each night and get some proper sleep, shower and prepare myself for what the day would hold (lots of ups and downs in PICU) was invaluable – it really helped me to cope.


The thought of having to leave Samuel for any time at all and not be close to him if he needed me was awful, but we knew as a family that someone was never more than 5 minutes away from him. This made such a difference to us. Our other son Henry also came to visit Samuel most days and he loved coming to the House to look at the room and play with the toys!

I was so overwhelmed that this was all funded through charitable donations – I had no idea that Ronald McDonald House Charities existed and couldn’t believe the support that I was being offered.

Having a sick child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Having a place to go and lay your head and take a shower and find a friendly face makes such a difference to families facing dark times. Ronald McDonald House Charities provide this haven to families in need and any fundraising efforts or charitable donations really do make a difference.


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