Kellie Gattera is a Mount Isa local, mother of two, and a Ronald McDonald House Charities North Australia volunteer at the Mount Isa Hospital.
Kellie decided to become a volunteer for the RMHC Hospitality Cart after a medical emergency meant her family were forced to use Ronald McDonald House last year.
"My daughter was in the Special Care Nursery here in Mount Isa from when she was born. She has a serious condition, but at the time the Doctor's had no idea what was wrong with her. When she was seven days old, we were told we would need to be flown to Townsville for specialist care, and we ended up staying at Ronald McDonald House for 25 nights," she said.
"I have no idea what we would have done if we couldn't use that service because financially it would have been crippling if we needed to find accommodation for that long. It was such a relief to know we had a comfortable place to stay and the peace of mind, knowing we could stay together and be close to the hospital.
"I decided to become a volunteer to give back to Ronald McDonald House Charities. I wanted to promote and support the service because it had done so much for my family."
In teams of two, The RMHC Hospitality Cart volunteers travel the Children's Ward and put a smile on sick kids, and their families face by handing out toys, magazines, colouring books, food and snacks, and toiletries.
"The parents are really surprised because it's all donated, and they don't have to pay for it. They usually ask how much it is and when we say for free, they're amazed and happy," she said.
"It's a small gesture, but it can make a big difference to a family who may be going through one of the most stressful times in their lives."
Kellie says she enjoys being able to help other families who may be going through what she went through and is encouraging anyone who might be thinking of joining to try it out.
"I really enjoy doing it and seeing the kids' faces light up. Each shift is only about an hour, so it's a quick and easy way to give back to your community," she said.
RMHC North Australia is looking for volunteers to help at the Mount Isa Hospital. Can you help?
If you're interested, please contact: (07) 4775 5600 firstname.lastname@example.org
While you are here, subscribe to our weekly email delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.