This is dedicated to my dear friend Jessica Hope, her partner Andy MacEneany and their darling son Tyler: a Bacterial Meningococcal Meningits survivor.
I have to admit, in the past when I’ve stood paying for my food at McDonalds, looking at the charity collection box I have thought in true Dorothy Parker style; what fresh hell is this? What sort of charity could McDonalds possibly run? A pretty good one it turns out.
It was the 18th of December when 18 week old Tyler was found, on his dad Andy’s birthday, unresponsive with a temperature of 40c and a heart rate of 220. They immediately took him to hospital where he was diagnosed with meningitis. He was given antibiotics which once they started working they also started to attack Tyler’s inner organs and he had to be put in a medically induced coma. He suffered from septicaemia as well as heart and lung failure. Please visit Meningitis Now to learn about the symptoms or get involved in other ways. Remember, meningitis happens fast!
He was in a coma for 6 days and the condition can change so fast they were told to say there goodbyes on Christmas Eve. Luckily little Tyler survived and was able to leave hospital after 9 days.
This is a lot for any parents to copy with, especially with such a young baby and especially your first born and you hardly know what the hell you are doing full stop. This is where The Ronald McDonald Housing Charity comes in to help.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent charity providing free ‘home away from home accommodation’ for families with children in hospital. Thanks to the fundraising, donations and volunteering of their supporters our 14 Houses across the UK, they were able to help over 7000 families in 2013. That meant that Jess and Andy could stay in a flat right near Tyler. They could take themselves away for a quick nap or shower without the hassle of having to travel all the way to their house.
Jess describes it as : ”on Christmas eve we got a note under the door saying there would be food provided in the kitchens for all of the families to make Christmas dinner with all of their families. The hotel was right outside the main doors so you were still on site to be with your child, they bumped us straight to the top of the list for a room as Tyler was so poorly. We didn’t have to wait around and that room was ours until the day he came home. When he went on to the ward we were allowed to take Tyler over to the house to make it more of a homely environment and get him off the ward if we wanted to. It was like a 5* hotel, it was beautiful and they don’t charge you a single penny. The phones in the rooms go straight through to the wards so you can ring them whatever time of night you want. The staff are always checking you are ok, I honestly can’t praise the Ronald McDonald house enough. They are amazing.” Also during the stay they had the support of other families in the same or worse situation. It was important to be near people who could understand what they were going through without having to explain it.
The Ronald McDonalds House in Manchester alone provides 60 en-suite bedrooms with communal lounges, kitchen, laundry room, teenager room and need to raise £600 000 this year to keep it open. This service is invaluable for the families that gets to stay there without having to worry about the cost.
Today, Tyler is just a cheeky little monkey just like any other little two year old. He has amazingly pretty much made a full recover.
So next time you are at McDonalds drop that spare penny in the charity box, it does make the world of difference!
Finally, if you want to support me in my quest to stay Sober for October, please text:
SSFO73 followed by £(amount) to 70070 to donate right now or visit my just giving page to donate by card or PayPal.
#sarasoberforoctober #soberoctober #soberforoctober
Every little helps!