MOUNT Isa couple Amanda and Barry Howie never thought they would need the Ronald McDonald House in Townsville.
But then, suddenly, they did when their daughter Stella was born 10 months ago.
“I was 32 weeks pregnant and I got flown over to Townsville due to pre-eclampsia, and within 24 hours Stella was born,” Mrs Howie said.
“Barry had nowhere to stay over in Townsville and was lucky enough Ronald McDonald House offered us a room over there for the duration of our stay.
“Stella was in hospital a month after she was born and we were lucky enough to secure a family room over there and we had our family, our parents come over and stay in Townsville with us and it was just great having them close by.”
Without the House the Howies would have needed to pay for accommodation further away from the hospital, which they visited five times a day for a month. They had no vehicles, having both flown from Mount Isa, so needed taxis to travel.
“It was just so convenient and the staff were wonderful. They saved us a lot of stress and money,” Mrs Howie said.
Mr Howie’s boss Ryan Mackenzie, from Isadraulics, recommended they use the Ronald McDonald House when he learned of their medical concern.
Isadraulics had been a gold sponsor of the Mount Isa Ronald McDonald House charity ball held in February, but for this year’s event Mr Mackenzie also joined the event committee. He said that an employee needed the House’s support, which were the Howies.
“We never expected to use the service,” the Howies said. And while they heard some people say the ball tickets were expensive, they knew what the money did to support local families. “We encourage our close circle of friends to get involved in the ball,” they said.
The Howies shared their story while they visited the Mount Isa Airport when it was selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts recently. $10 from each dozen was ‘doughnated’ to the House. About 500 dozen had been sold.
“We’ve noticed there’s been a few fundraising events for Ronald McDonald House in Mount Isa in the last year or two and it’s just great,” Mrs Howie said. “It’s also bringing awareness.”