While we were setting up OurRebekah to support Ronald McDonald House Charities in Britain we were speaking with people in two different projects who both said...........

Oh yes, I know Ronald McDonald House.........

Both had relatives who had the loving arms of this organisation placed around them. One had family members in New Zealand and one in Australia.

As OurRebekah developed we linked support to three houses in the USA.

If you look at the website banner which appears at the top of every OurRebekah website page we list the ways we would like to help the work Ronald McDonald Houses do. The very first thing says: RAISING AWARENESS OF THE CHARITY'S WORK.

While we have met people whose families have been touched by Ronald McDonald House Kindness there are some who, until we spoke to them, were not aware of what is happening - happing every hour of every day and every day of the year.  Ronald McDonald Houses NEVER close. With 366 houses right round the world the sun never sets on Ronald McDonald House.

This feature of OurRebekah seeks to raise awareness of the charity's INTERNATIONAL profile. Each week we will feature a Ronald McDonald House in a different part of the world.

So let's look now at:

There are THREE Ronald McDonald Houses in New Zealand: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Families come to  Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch from across New Zealand. The Houses provide a home away from home, offering families a safe haven to retreat to, after a long day on the ward. From stocked kitchens to cosy lounges, everyone appreciate how important it is for families to escape the clinical world of medicine, and take comfort from the familiarity and routine within a home-like environment.

This house is based a few minutes walk from Christchurch Hospital. Staff are there to assist families throughout their stay, they’ll help families to find your way around, explain how the House works and put all in touch with the appropriate support networks if and when needed.

Within Ronald McDonald House in Wellington there is a whole host of amenities including:
- Fully equipped Family Kitchen
- Onsite laundry
- Four lounges
- Games room
- Children’s art room
- Computer and internet room
- Expressing room for neo natal mums
- Media room
- Gymnasium
- Outdoor playground
- Private out door area for relaxing, dining and BBQ’s

In the Auckland house there are:

Three kitchens stocked with necessities
Onsite laundry for families which is open from 8am-10pm
A library
An on-site school for children in years 1-8
TV lounges
Fitness centre
Business Centre for parents
Computer and internet access
Children outdoor play areas
A range of programmes for our families to enjoy including; art classes, dinner and children’s yoga

Within Ronald McDonald Houses the world over the facilities will vary slightly but then work is the same and what is the same in every single room of every single house is the LOVE.

Love like this:

THE FOREMAN FAMIL

Bay of Plenty mum Victoria Foreman always knew she would need to give birth to baby Nixon in Auckland. She’d been told Nixon would need to receive specialist treatment for his heart at the National Children’s Hospital. However, it all happened much earlier than expected when Victoria developed severe preeclampsia and was flown to Auckland Hospital on an emergency flight.

With everything happening so suddenly, Victoria and her family didn’t have any plans in place. She didn’t know how long she would be away from her home in Papamoa or how her husband Andrew and children Khloe and Blake would cope without Mum around.When Nixon was born a few days later, Victoria was relieved to hear her family could stay at Ronald McDonald House while he was in hospital. During the weekends, school holidays and whenever they had time to visit, Andrew, Khloe, Blake – and sometimes even the grandparents – would stay at the House.

“We just don’t know where we’d be without this place. I know everyone says that, but that’s because it’s true,” says Victoria. “You have no idea how amazing it is until you’re here.”

Their initial four week stay turned into four months as Nixon’s condition was worse than anticipated.

Having a place in Auckland that felt like a home was incredibly comforting for Victoria and meant she could give her full attention to Nixon and his treatment. “It had everything…even little things like umbrellas waiting at the front door when it’s raining,” she says.

Home cooked meals prepared by volunteers also made life easier. Victoria is especially grateful to the staff who saved her dinner when she came back from the ward late at night. “After spending the whole day at the hospital, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook,” she says.

When the whole family was at the House, these meals also allowed them to spend quality time together and helped to restore some normality to their lives.

Victoria loved how well the House catered for children. She never had to worry about keeping Khloe and Blake – who made plenty of new friends in the House – entertained.

Victoria also found new friendships with other mums at the House in similar situations. “Often you can feel like you’re the only one going through hard times, but meeting the other families makes you realise you are definitely not alone.”

The whole family is now back home in Papamoa and continue to stay at the House when Nixon needs treatment in Auckland. Victoria and Andrew are so grateful for the support of Ronald McDonald House when they need it. They are now planning to host a dinner night at the House to support other families.


 

OurRebekah is all about having fun, doing some amazing, crazy and often silly things. It is all about smiling and helping others to smile. As we do this we will support Ronald McDonald House Charities as it puts a loving arm around families with sick children in hospital, people who are going through some very hard times.

Spend a few moments with us here, check out our different events then come and have lots and lots of fun with us.

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