Back when Eli was two years of age, he suffered a traumatic oesophageal injury and was flown from Coffs Harbour by helicopter to Hospital. The family found themselves on the doorstep of Ronald McDonald House, far from their hometown.
Eli’s road to recovery was long. He was on life support in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for the first month followed by ongoing treatment . His family stayed 71 nights with Mum Nicola staying on the ward while Dad Clinton and 7-year-old sister Ava stayed at the house.
For mum Nicole Ronald McDonald House meant stability. “It provided such a huge support network for us. To be able to do everything at once - be there for Eli when he was sick, there for Ava to try and keep some normalcy in a time for crisis. To be able to recuperate and not have to worry about meals and all the daily stuff. We could just exist and be there for Eli and be able to try and heal.
At the time it was so important for us to keep our family together as much as possible. Eli’s grandparents were able to stay and be with Ava, doing fun things while we focused on Eli. It eased the worry for his grandparents as they were able to see Eli too.’ Says Nicola.
Ronald McDonald House continues to support the family, as Nicola can come down on her own for follow up treatments.
Eli is always excited to come back to the House and play with the toys, enjoy the activities happening in the House and all the fun stuff. For them, the House is such a community and like a second family.