Keeping siblings close when they are far from home

Keeping siblings close when they are far from home

When Talia was born, she was unresponsive and took her first breath after eight long minutes. As a result, she was born with Cerebral Palsy. She was also born with Charge Syndrome, which has caused several issues to her health such as heart failure, facial paralysis, cleft lip and pallet, profound hearing loss and brain damage.

After having been diagnosed with Bronchiolitis and needing to be put on life support, Talia was transferred to Southampton General Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. This was a really scary time for her family and their main concern, other than Talia’s health, was how they would cope as a family so far from home.

When Talia’s family stayed at the Southampton House they were able to have a place where they could be together as a family, and where Talia and her brothers could build a bond. Here mum Gemma shares their journey and why the House was so important for her family.

Guest Blogger: Gemma

We arrived in PICU broken people; away from home, with our three boys and not knowing what Talia’s future would hold. We hadn’t even considered where we would stay until a nurse on the ward told us we had been offered accommodation at the Ronald McDonald House just across the road from the hospital. At that point, we had no idea what an important part the House would play in our journey.

I had no idea that Ronald McDonald House Charities even existed. Walking in felt like winning a prize; we were so grateful, compared to the camp beds we had become used to the House was amazing. We were able to cook our own family meals, shower in our en-suite bathroom, wash our clothes in the laundry rooms, all things that had become much harder to do when staying in other hospitals.

Since staying at the House we have celebrated birthdays, Christmas and Easter. Each celebration has made us so much more grateful for ‘our home away from home’. Watching our sons wake up to Christmas presents from Santa outside our bedroom door, is one of my happiest moments in the House.

To us the Ronald McDonald House is more than just bricks. It’s become our home and a safe place where my whole family feel loved and supported. Living away from my other children during the week due to school and work commitments has been just so heart breaking and we live for Friday evenings when they come to stay at ‘Mummy’s House’. My sons have sometimes felt abandoned by their Mum, but having the House has meant I am able to give them a constant safe place where I can show them they are just as important. Without the support of the Ronald McDonald House, my sons would not be able to form the relationship and bond they have with their sister and having my boys close has helped them to learn about and accept Talia’s health issues and journey.

Physically, mentally and emotionally the House has had a positive impact on us as a family, if we weren’t able to stay at the House, I don’t know what we would do, we would have struggled to stay a family unit!

Thank you all for everything you do. The Ronald McDonald House and the family inside it provide a constant comfort and support to my family whilst our world had been turned upside down. We can’t thank you all enough for the kindness you’ve shown to us all.

Gemma, Rudal, Izaiha, Mason, Cohen & Talia

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