Saturday 14 April 2012

Erin's Gift - Raising Awareness of Ronald Macdonald House

I am very excited that Anna from Erin's Gift has written a guest post for me. Anna's story, as much as it is very sad, is so inspirational. I first met Anna on Twitter and was amazed at her grace, in the face of such grief, and her heart for others. I have asked her to share the work of Ronald Macdonald House. Anna's Just Giving page can be found here.

I feel very honoured to be invited to write a post on Kylie's blog. I am a relatively new blogger - only starting in February following the death of my beautiful daughter Erin at 22 days old. Now I write my blog in her memory to help fundraising for some wonderful causes in her name.

One of the charities that we fundraise for is Ronald McDonald House who provide free accommodation and support to the families of the seriously ill children in hospital. So far we have raised over £6200 and hope to raise much more as a way of saying thank you for their kindness to us and to help them support other families. I am going to try and explain why the work that Ronald McDonald House do is so important and to do this I will start by telling you a little about Erin.

We found out that Erin may have a problem with her heart in pregnancy as she had Turner Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder, so it was arranged that she would have a heart scan shortly after birth at our local hospital. This scan detected problems so she was transferred to Alder Hey Children's Hospital when she was 1 day old. This was 60 miles from where we lived and tragically she was never able to leave. Due to my own medical needs, I was unable to go with Erin when she was transferred and it was 9 hours before I was reunited with my precious daughter. This seperation was horrendous and I knew that I could not bear to be apart from my gorgeous new born baby girl like that again. This was when we were told about the wonderful Ronald McDonald House. They had accommodation onsite at Alder Hey, only 3 minutes from Erin's ward and we would be able to stay there free of charge for as long as Erin was in hospital. This was amazing to me. As I was shown to our room, private bathroom and shared kitchen facilities I was still in shock and terror at the fact that my daughter was going to need heart surgery. I would not have been able to cope with the additional stress of finding accommodation as well and would definitely not have been able to leave her and go home. Without them I imagine we would have tried to sleep on a chair by Erin's bed or in the car - at a time when we were at our most fragile and under more stress than we had ever experienced before this could only have made things worse.

Erin lived for 22 days - 21 of them spent at Alder Hey. She suffered complications following her heart surgery and spent the last two weeks of her life critically ill in intensive care. There were a number of occasions when she required emergency procedures in the middle of the night and it was at these times that the wonderful work of Ronald McDonald House was really evident. The nurses were able to telephone our room and we could rush over and be by Erin's side in minutes, allowing us to give her a kiss before she underwent further surgery.

I wanted to spend every second I could at little Erin's side: holding her hand; stroking her hair and whispering words of love in her ear, but I knew that I couldn't. As her parents we needed to stay strong and we needed to get rest so that when we were with her we were at our best. If Ronald McDonald House had not been able to provide accommodation so near, I don't know what we would have done. For the entirety of Erin's stay at Alder Hey I was never more than 5 minutes from her side. The precious time that we had with her was never wasted on travelling times and for this I am so thankful. We only had 22 days with our precious little girl so every second really mattered. The work that Ronald McDonald House do gave us more time with our darling girl and therefore more memories. These memories are now the most precious thing I have.

I hope I have explained why Ronald McDonald House are so valuable to families with children in hospital. They currently have 14 houses and ultimately aim to build one at every children's hospital in the UK. They rely on the generous donations of their supporters. You can read more here.

Thank you so much Anna for sharing Erin's Gift with us. Although only here for such a short time, she will be leaving a lasting legacy that so many families will benefit from. 

If you have an amazing story to share, and would like to see it on my blog, perhaps you don't have a blog of your own, or you 



  1. A very sad yet beautiful story, which just brings it home to me how lucky I am with my two very healthy children. A great charity to support!

  2. Breaks my heart... but you have faced it with grace. You are blessed to be led to a true charity that fulfills their purpose. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Michellethemonica15 April 2012 at 09:47

    im welling up here Im sorry for your loss, There is A RONALD MACDONALDES House at Hope hospital about 3 mins from the nnu unit as i used it when my eldest was born untill he was transfewrd back to my home hospital, When ever i went in to Macdonalds from being small to know there was these tubs there while i never knew what they acctuled did i always gave even if it was a penny and i still do, I was in Macdanaleds and this man said what are these for? So i told him what they did provide accomidation for parents for sick children in hospial where there have a Ronnies house as hope called theres,

  4. Your Erin sounds like a very brave, gorgeous little girl. I'm so sorry she was unable to stay. I am currently on my phone but will donate to your charity as soon as I am back home. We benefited from a room when our 8 week old baby was on ICU at Great Ormond Street - I couldn't of expressed our gratitude and reasons for it better than you have.