PBC can announce they will be supporting Ronald McDonald as their chosen charity for the year.
“To be honest with you”, said Kym Carvell, “until recently I thought Ronald McDonald was a clown dressed in red and yellow associated with a well-known burger chain! I knew there was a charity side but had never really thought about it, which is a shame given the good work I now know it does.”
“There are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses as close as is possible to specialist children’s hospitals across the country, from Southampton to Liverpool. They provide accommodation for families whose child is receiving treatment at the hospital, free of charge so parents can stay close to their children. There is a telephone in each room with a direct line to the ward the child is on so that immediate contact can be made either by the ward to the parent or vice versa. There are communal kitchen facilities, laundry facilities, playrooms, lounge areas with TVs and each room is allocated secure fridge, freezer and cupboard space. There are staff and volunteers to run the house and provide much needed support for the families.”
“The house at Alder Hey hospital can accommodate 84 families a night & has welcomed over 16,000 families since it opened in 1993. It costs £600,000 per year to run the house and last year that target was short by £150,000. The house is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week, is full 94% of the time and looked after 1,723 families last year. The longest stay has been 2.5 years.”
“On 5th August, my baby grand daughter was born 10 weeks premature with a number of health issues, some which we were aware of before her birth, some we weren’t and some caused by her early arrival. She was airlifted to Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool on the day she was born and my son joined her the same day. Her mother was quite poorly and not allowed to travel until she put her foot down the following day and joined them!”
“Little Billie-Marie has defied the odds stacked against her and has recovered from internal bleeding, a bleed on the brain and brain surgery to reduce fluid at just 5 weeks old. She’s been resuscitated twice and it has been a roller coaster ride for all of us. She still has issues with her kidneys, a hole in her heart and a Coloboma in both eyes which may result in her being visually impaired but she’s a fighter and she will be just fine. She had her first bottle feed last week and was transported to her local hospital the following day.”
“By comparison, my grandson required surgery at Addenbrookes in Cambridge when he was born in 2013 and no such accommodation was available for my younger son and his partner. There is no Ronald McDonald House at Addenbrookes. The accommodation there had to be booked in advance and cost £50 per night with no facilities or direct telephone line. Few young people just starting family life can afford that, certainly not for any length of time, hence why the Ronald McDonald charity does what it does.”
“I am in no way, comparing the hospitals, they are both amazing places but I do have direct experience of the difference the Ronald McDonald charity has made. It is because of this experience that PBC have chosen it as its charity of the year. Alder Hey in particular, treats children from all over the UK, Isle of Man and Europe, over 270,000 young people were treated there last year, hence its association with the Ronald McDonald charity. A lot of the patients and their families are miles away from home, 143 miles away in my case!”
“Now when I hear the name Ronald McDonald, I no longer associate it with a burger chain but with grateful families facing tough, emotional and uncertain times with their very poorly children. In an ideal world, there would be a Ronald McDonald House at every hospital and I hope we can help with that.”
The team at PBC will be working on a series of fundraising initiatives, so watch this space!
More information can be found at http://www.rmhc.org.uk/