© Ronald McDonald House Charities
Written by Editorial Team, DonateToday
Published: Monday, 8th January 2018
Seriously ill, new-born baby transferred to a hospital miles from parents’ home – couple were left with nowhere to sleep until charity intervened
Unable to breathe at birth, baby was transferred to a hospital miles from parents' home – couple were left with nowhere to sleep until charity intervened
Oliver has titin myopathy and was unable to breathe at birth
When baby Oliver was diagnosed with titin myopathy, shortly after his birth, he was transferred to a hospital miles away from his parents' home. Mum and dad, Lauren and Darren, were faced with a 50-mile round-trip every day or paying for hotel accommodation, in order to be near their son. Fortunately, Ronald McDonald House Charities had a facility nearby.
When Oliver was born in Basingstoke Hospital he could not breathe. Having assessed the new-born, medical professionals took the decision to transfer him to Southampton General Hospital where he was diagnosed with titin myopathy, a disorder that causes muscle weakness.
Following their son to the south coast, parents Lauren and Darren were left with nowhere to stay. They were miles from their home, didn’t know the area, didn’t have any friends or relatives close-by and had no way of knowing how long their son would be in hospital.
The new parents were faced with the choice of making a 50-mile trip every day to visit their son or paying for accommodation in the more immediate vicinity of the hospital. ‘Everything felt new and intimidating to us,’ recalls dad Darren.
"Thanks to the House, we could be at his bedside in a moment's notice."
The Ronald McDonald House in Southampton
However, help was at hand. ‘The ward at Southampton General told us we could stay Ronald McDonald House; that it would be free; and that we could stay there until Oliver was ready to go home,’ says Darren. ‘For the first 15 months of Oliver’s life, Lauren and I lived on the third floor at the House, in a room called Merchant Hall.’
Oliver was transferred to a hospital miles from his parents' home
Ronald McDonald House became the couple’s home. Having a private bedroom with ensuite, as well as a well-furnished kitchen, was undoubtedly incredibly useful, but the most important and beneficial aspect of life at the charity house was its proximity to Southampton General, and their son.
‘When your child is unwell, every moment is precious,’ says Darren. ‘You don’t want to be away from them any longer than you have to. Thanks to the House, we could be at his bedside in a moment’s notice.’
"Every penny donated means a family doesn't have to commute or sleep in the car or on a camp bed."
On 21 March 2017, Oliver was discharged from hospital and able to go home. ‘Oliver has had to come back into hospital a few times,’ Darren admits. ‘Thankfully, only for short stays and each time we have been able to stay at the House. The staff have been amazing.
‘We couldn’t have imagined at the start that we would have needed to stay at the Southampton House for as long as we did,’ Oliver’s dad continues. ‘Our friends and family have been busy fundraising, and we’re aiming to raise £5,000 so that we can sponsor Merchant Hall in Oliver’s name.
‘We know the true value of a Ronald McDonald House, and every penny donated means a family doesn’t have to commute or sleep in the car or on a camp bed.’