16 December 2022

Help Ronald McDonald House Canberra bring Christmas cheer to sick kids like little Logan

| Katrina Condie
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Dad and son on giant teddy bear

Logan and his dad Mikel Heffer on their last day at Ronald McDonald House. Photo: Ronald McDonald House ACT.

Mikel Heffer and Kahlea Duddy are looking forward to their first Christmas at home on the farm in Leeton with their little boy Logan, after he spent almost a year in hospital.

Logan was born with abdominal and gastro complications at Wagga Hospital on 28 December 2021 and was transferred to Canberra Hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries and required ongoing medical treatment.

Kahlea said she was happy to finally return home early in November after spending an incredible 310 days straight at Ronald McDonald House.

“We’re very excited to be home for Christmas and Logan’s first birthday,” she said.

While Kahlea spent every day with her sick son, Mikel travelled four and a half hours back and forth from Leeton to look after the farm, staying for a few days in Canberra when he could.

The couple said the financial and emotional support they received from Ronald McDonald House during that time had been invaluable and made a very difficult time bearable.

“It was so homely and everyone made us feel welcome,” Kahlea said.

“They made us home-cooked meals two or three times a week and there was always someone there if you had any questions or to point you in the right direction for help.”

READ ALSO ‘Everything we needed’ – resident says thanks as Ronald McDonald House Canberra turns 10

Mikel said their home-away-from-home allowed him to wake up, have breakfast and walk down the hall to see his little man without the need for expensive accommodation or a four-and-a-half-hour drive.

Other families won’t be spending Christmas at home this year and will instead be by their child’s bedside at Canberra Hospital.

Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT and SE NSW’s Christmas Appeal will help support the families of seriously ill and injured children and premature infants this holiday season and beyond.

By donating to the appeal, Canberrans can help bring a bit of Christmas cheer to these families, who are away from home during the festive season. Donated funds will also support Canberra-based families with sick or injured children at the Ronald McDonald Family Room in the Canberra Hospital, and at the charity’s Family Retreat in Batemans Bay.

On average, it costs $132 to support a family’s stay at Ronald McDonald House for one night.

A Christmas donation of $150 will offer a family a night of staying close to their sick child in hospital, along with food, gifts and support for the holiday season when demand tends to surge.

Ronald McDonald House Canberra offers accommodation, food and respite to families while their child is undergoing treatment in hospital, especially those who live at least 100 kilometres away from the hospital.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room in Canberra and Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Batemans Bay is also a space to relax and recharge, supporting wellness and family-centered care for children battling illness or injury.

Mikel encourages Canberrans to support the RMHC Christmas appeal, saying “you never know when you or a loved one will need it”.

READ ALSO Families with sick kids find time to reconnect at Ronald McDonald’s Batemans Bay retreat

The family is happy to be home to celebrate little Logan’s first birthday, however they will be heading to Sydney in the new year where he will undergo hip surgery.

“We were worried that we’d be spending Christmas and his birthday in hospital, so we’re happy to be home,” Kahlea said.

“Logan is going really well, moving around a lot more and getting into everything.

“It feels amazing that we will be with the family for Christmas instead of being in hospital.”

When a child is in hospital, it can have a devastating impact on families. As well as the uncertainty and fear, there’s added financial and emotional stress for families who don’t live close to the medical care their child needs.

You can gift a night of respite or find out how to donate toys or festive treats to families in need via the Ronald McDonald House Charities ACT Christmas Appeal.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on Riotact.

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