For the Schutz family, the small things have made the biggest impact during their stay at Ronald McDonald House Charities North Australia.
In 2017, Ollie Schutz was a newborn when he had to undergo surgery on a perforated bowel. Mum Meg, dad Lucas and brother Levi travelled from home in Mount Isa to Townsville and stayed at Ronald McDonald House for 10 weeks while Ollie recovered in Townsville Hospital.
The family again recently needed the support of the charity due to Ollie requiring complex surgery to save a badly infected eye.
The volunteers, staff and facilities that have assisted them through difficult times have left Meg and Lucas so thankful for the community funded charity that they knew little about before they themselves needed help.
“It has saved us a lot of money and a lot of stress,” Meg said. “To have a safe place that’s close by to the hospital has been a blessing. We didn’t know this was going to happen to Ollie, and so to have somewhere to come for support and family downtime was very important.”
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Denise Lumsden, acting CEO, RMHCNA said the house provided facilities and programs to ensure families and their sick children are cared for in a time of distress.
“Families arrive and are able to relax and make the place their own, there’s room for children to play, other families to connect with and important staples like toiletries, meals and house hold necessities,” Ms Lumsden said. “So, while they are the simple things it also really helps when families are going through this difficult time and need to focus on their child getting better.”
Meg recalls the highlights from her stays are the small acts of kindness from the staff and volunteers, whose efforts have made the house feel more like a home.
“We as a family have felt so supported from the get go,” she said. “The staff are just really good at knowing us on a personal level. We always feel welcome and the volunteers go above and beyond.”
Ollie is now undergoing ongoing treatment after rare bacteria were found in his eye. Surgeries will build up Ollie’s eye structure using amniotic membrane, a procedure only completed once before in Townsville.
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