Meet our families
Some of the thousands of families we’ve helped have kindly decided to share their experiences.
The O’Loughlin Family, Co. Wexford
On the 2nd of February 2017, we welcomed our 3rd child in Wexford General Hospital. However, 24 hours later Darragh began to show signs that he was not coping well. He was transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin via ambulance and was admitted to the Children’s Heart Centre. Over the next few hours, a Cardiologist came to explain that our son had a Complex Heart Defect. At 2 days old, he had his first investigative Cath Lab procedure and was scheduled for Open Heart Surgery at 6 days old. This surgery was an in-term surgery to give him some support to allow him to get bigger and stronger before he needed his Repair Surgery. We got a room in the Ronald McDonald House. It is difficult to put into words what a difference this made us.
We had 2 children at home, who could only come up for day visits prior to this, and although they wanted to come to visit, a hospital is not a place for healthy, active children. A room in the House meant that we could all stay together, sit down to a meal together, play in the playroom and visit the hospital. Our children called it the ‘Holiday House’, they loved to come to visit. It was a place, we could sit with our parents, family or friends who visited and drink a cup of tea, it was a place to come at the end of a long, stressful day in the Hospital and sit down and unwind and try to feel ‘normal’, a friendly chat, a quiet moment, a place to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal, a place to get a good night’s sleep to get up next day and go through the same, long hospital day. We went on to spend a further 7 weeks in ICU recovering surgery, extending our admission to 19 weeks. We have had 2 more admissions in Crumlin Hospital and both times have been lucky to get a room here. I could not have imagined spending all this time in Crumlin Hospital without our room in The Ronald McDonald House. We continue to support RMHC anytime we can through fundraising efforts. We have returned as a family to cook for current families staying there and have donated monies raised from a coffee morning our family organised. Thank you for your amazing work and I cannot express the difference it has made to our family.
The Walsh Family, Co. Kildare
“No matter what’s ahead, we know RMHC will be there for us. It’s a special place that’s not like anything else.”
When your child is sick, it affects the entire family. For the Walsh family, it all happened so quickly. Lynn Marie’s daughter Jessica suffers from a rare condition known as Retts Syndrome and needed 24-hour medical care as her condition worsened.
“Everything was disrupted, routines, all the things you take for granted, that keeps you grounded were no more” explains Lynn Marie. “As all this was happening, I panicked because we knew we couldn’t afford a hotel room for as long as we needed to be at the hospital to stay close to Jessica. Thankfully, the Ronald McDonald House took this huge weight off our shoulders.”
Lynn Marie and her 14-year old son, Elliot, stayed in the Ronald McDonald House since from 2017 – 2018 while Jessica received palliative care in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
“No matter what’s ahead, we know RMHC will be there for us. It’s a special place that’s not like anything else.” Lynn Marie & Elliot were able to get a room at the Ronald McDonald House so that they didn’t have to travel far and leave Jessica to be alone without her mother and brother by her side at all times. Lynn Marie reflects,
“When families are split apart, especially during tough times, it weighs on everybody, both mentally and physically. The gift of being together — it just makes you feel like you’re going to be okay.”
Along with getting to be close to her family in a time of need, Lynn Marie sees the value in being near other families going through similar situations. She explains, “What’s a gift, too, it is to be able to connect with other families going through the same thing. It’s so precious and something that we cherish about the House. No matter what’s ahead, we know that RMHC will be there for us. It’s a special place that’s not like anything else.”
Jessica is now happy at home with her family in Kildare and was able to come and celebrate Our 15th Birthday party at the Ronald McDonald House in 2019.
The Nee Family, Co. Donegal
Ronald McDonald House was such a blessing to us while our baby Noah received life-saving treatment in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. We stayed at the house on two separate occasions while Noah underwent open-heart surgery for his complex cardiac condition. When Noah was born he was airlifted from Letterkenny to Crumlin. It was such a stressful and worrying time. You don’t really stop to think about the practicalities of being so swiftly uprooted from home to a hospital when you have such a critically ill baby.
Ronald McDonald House meant we didn’t have to worry about where we would stay and the associated financial burden. Ronald McDonald House was our home while we couldn’t be at home. The staff were so kind and supportive and it was a place where we could get some respite after long draining days in the hospital. Above everything, the House helped us to stay close together as a family. Not only were we able to be close to Noah, but our other three children were able to stay with us. That really helped to cushion the disruption to family life.
Being able to share a meal together and spend some quality time together meant so much. Our children loved the House! They loved the ice-cream fridge and the playroom. They made friends and were able to have some fun. We’re very grateful to Ronald McDonald House because they helped to limit the impact on family life for us at that time. And even through a very traumatic time, we have some lovely memories!