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Cooking up a comfy home away from home

Giving Back
November 09, 2019

Cooking up a comfy home away from home

23 November 2018 | by Halcyon

Halcyon home owners love putting their heart and soul into a good cause and their huge support for Ronald McDonald House (RMH) at Herston is a testament to this.

The three-level complex right next to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital provides comfortable accommodation and support services for seriously ill or injured children and their families.

It is one of three such facilities run by Ronald McDonald House Charities South East Queensland (RMHC SEQ) with two others at South Brisbane, where one is within the Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) and the other located opposite the QCH and Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

The organisation also has Ronald McDonald Family Rooms inside the Gold Coast University Hospital and QCH.

RMHC SEQ CEO  Dr John Gilmour  said the charity’s Houses helped to preserve the family unit in the midst of physical, emotional and financial stress.

“It also gives parents the chance to draw hope and comfort from other families in similar situations, while being supported by dedicated and friendly staff and volunteers,” Dr Gilmour Gumley said.

“The majority of our families live in Queensland.  However, we have a number of families who travel from interstate or overseas who use our facilities while their children are receiving specialist treatment in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast.”

Aside from providing 50 bright and cheery rooms for weary families to lay their heads at night, the RMH Herston is a ‘home away from home’ with its fully equipped kitchen, games room, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, parents’ retreat and library, baby room and guest laundry.

More than 5,200 families stayed in the charity’s houses in 2017, demonstrating the huge demand for this remarkable service.

And so, home owners across Halcyon communities adopted the charity last year and continue to give their support in a variety of ways.

Those who took part in the 2017 and 2018 Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast Marathons raised a total of $17,000 for the charity.  Enabling Halcyon to ‘adopt’, or fund, three accommodation rooms in the Herston facility.

Home owner craft groups have also donated handmade items such as plush toys, welcome bags, colourful blankets and cheery paintings to make families feel more comfortable and ‘at home’ during their stay.

Most recently, home owners travelled to RMH Herston to participate in the Bake Off and Make a Meal programs during which they cooked treats, snacks and three-course dinners for families.

Halcyon Glades home owner Leonie Hanton said she was delighted to be able to ‘give back’ to the charity that was there for her daughter and son-in-law when their baby son was in hospital.

“They said nothing but good things about Ronald McDonald House after staying there,” Leonie said.

“It wouldn’t have been easy for them if they didn’t have Ronald McDonald House.

“I didn’t realise how much this facility was needed by families.”

Their experience inspired Leonie to participate in the Sunshine Coast Marathon and, more recently, in the Make a Meal program.

Fellow Halcyon Glades home owner Norma Thomas was part of a Bake Off team that whipped up batches of scones, muffins, cupcakes, mini pizzas, brownies and cakes in the kitchen at RMH Herston.

She was thrilled that the delicious aroma of their baking lured some of the guests down to the kitchen.

“They were very grateful for what we were doing,” she said.

“Having this food made for them means they can come back to have a cup of tea and something nice to eat after they’ve been in the hospital ward all day.

“It’s a great feeling to be doing something like this, and to know that people appreciate what you’ve done.”

Another Bake Off team involved Halcyon Lakeside home owners Ken Lawton and Jeff McKenzie, who appreciate how vital a service like Ronald McDonald House is for families.

“My sister slept on a hospital chair for four months while her daughter was in hospital after an accident that also hospitalised her husband,” Jeff said.

“We moved into their home and looked after their other kids. So, we have first-hand knowledge of the chaos it throws the family into when someone has to go to hospital.”

Ken said the Bake Off was an opportunity to do something productive for a great cause.

“We know of Ronald McDonald House and the good work they do, and we want to contribute to that,” he said.

Halcyon Ronald McDonald House donation 2018