For over 30 years, our house has provided a home away from home for thousands of hundreds of families with a seriously ill child.
For the now 16-year-old Georgia, her parents Helena and Wayne, and her two older siblings, our Newcastle House became a refuge when their life was turned upside down after Georgia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her family was told Georgia only had three months to live. She was only three at the time.
The specialist care Georgia desperately needed at John Hunter Children’s Hospital was over 270kms from their family home in Tamworth. Like any parent, Helena and Wayne were determined to be by Georgia’s side through it all as they fought the biggest battle of their lives for Georgia’s recovery.
While Georgia received life-saving treatment, for 251 days Ronald McDonald House gave them a place to call home. Thankfully, Georgia’s treatment was successful.
For Helena, hearing your child has cancer are the words no parent ever wants to hear.
She tells us that we were able to provide so much more than a home away from home – friendship, comfort and supporting one another.
“RMH is a house filled with people with hearts of gold and are all angels on earth to help those in need in a time of stress."
The bonds made with Ronald McDonald House volunteers, staff and other families have been unbreakable for the Smith family – “One family we holiday with every year and have done so for the past 10 years.”
In 2017, nine years on, we received an incredibly special letter from Georgia telling us how much Ronald McDonald House still means to her and her family. How we were able to help keep her family together and not split up across New South Wales. “The friendly ears to talk to” and additional support for her brother and sister with their schooling.
This support has seen the family thrive. As Helena says,
“Ronald McDonald House changed our lives. It gave us a different outlook on life and has helped us be the family we are today. A family full of love, strength, compassion and appreciation… the same values RMH has.”
Georgia’s sister Rhianna (who was 14 at the time) is now 26 and has a drive for fundraising and giving back to charities that helped her. This is largely because of the love and friendship she received from the volunteers and staff at RMH.
Rhianna has gone on to receive the Young Citizen of the Year for Tamworth and has also received an OAM for Youth in Year 12 for her community service. Georgia’s brother Lachlan (who was 10 at the time of Georgia’s diagnosis) is now 22 and has also received the Tamworth Youth Volunteer of the Year Award in recent years.
As for Georgia – today, Georgia is a happy, healthy teenager starting year 10 in Tamworth and her “love for life inspires all that come across her.” Helena describes Georgia as a keen sportsperson like her brother – playing every sport under the sun - soccer, karate, hockey, rugby, basketball and recently has decided that volleyball might be a sport she can try.
In 2020, following in her siblings’ footsteps, she was awarded the Tamworth Young Citizen of the Year for her support for various charities and her give-back attitude to the different sports she plays where she helps coach young people too.
Sadly, Georgia is in constant pain (due to post-cancer health concerns) but her can-do attitude inspires all.
Every year, hundreds of families like Georgia’s need a home near the hospital so they can stay close and support their sick or injured child.
As a 100% community-owned and operated organisation, your support is vital in helping provide the support local and regional families need when they have a sick or injured child. Thank you for helping families, like Georgia’s, who desperately need to stay close together so they can focus on what’s important, their sick or injured child.
But it doesn’t end here. Many more families will hope to find our doors open to them over the next 30 years. So please help us provide a roof over the head of families with a seriously ill or injured child. Your donation will mean the world to families like Georgia’s.
“Wayne and I are very proud of our children’s achievements since our world was turned upside down back in 2008. Life has never been the same, however with the support we received from RMH, we were able to get through this time of need.”
Our birthday wish is to continue to be here for the next 30 years, providing a home away from home, for families when they need it the most. But we can only achieve this through the support of people like you.