Ronald McDonald House Charities in Orange received a beautiful surprise when the Principal of Kristen’s Dance Studio in Forbes, Kristen Woods, arrived at the house last week with a generous donation of boxes of games, activities, toiletries and vouchers for families and sick children.
“We just had a knock on the door and were greeted by Kristen with boxes and boxes of donated items for our family, it was wonderful,” said Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities Orange, Rebecca Walsh.
Kristen said her family has a special connection with Ronald McDonald House Charities as her sister was treated for several months at Westmead, with her family staying nearby at Ronald McDonald House many years ago.
“The donations for the Orange house are the result of the students dressing up for Halloween and donating,” Kristen said.
“We decided to split the donations between Orange and Westmead houses.”
“We are just so fortunate that we have a house in Orange now that is closer for our families,” she said.
Since Ronald McDonald House Charities Orange opened, 75 families from Forbes have stayed for a total of 235 nights while they access specialist care for their child at Orange Hospital.
All accommodation and services are provided to families free of charge for as long they need. This includes emergency meals, complimentary breakfasts, grocery items for families to self-cater, toiletries, and food and travel vouchers.
Over half of the 790 Central and Far-Western families that have stayed with RMHC Orange, have had a child or adolescent experiencing a mental health crisis requiring urgent treatment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health ward located within Orange Hospital. It is the only specialist unit of its type located outside of Sydney.
Rebecca said due to the centralisation of specialist obstetric services to Orange, the
house in Orange had also experienced a marked increase in the number of women who need to come to Orange to give birth or be monitored during pregnancy.
“If pregnant mothers are sent to Orange for their check-up, they are offered overnight accommodation, so they don’t have to drive down and back in one day. Closer to delivery these women and their partner or family member stay with us for as long as required so they are close to hospital services,” Rebecca said.