A MILESTONE has been reached at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Orange this week. Staff and volunteers 'wrapped around' the 1,000th family from the Central and Far West who has stayed at the house since it opened.
This milestone represents the importance of the need for such a facility such as RMHC Orange to support families from the region at a difficult time in their life when their child needs life-saving and specialist treatment at Orange Hospital. Accommodation and services are provided free of charge.
It also comes in the lead up to the post-COVID resumption of the house's major fundraiser, the annual Ronald McDonald House Charities Gala Ball to be held at Orange Function Centre on Saturday, March 12.
For the first time in the 15-year history of the fundraising ball, which was held for the first time as one of the launch events for fundraising, residents from across the region can be involved by participating in the online auction and raffle.
All funds raised through the Ball will stay in Orange to directly support families from the Central and Far West and beyond.
Orange's house is unique in that the most accommodation nights from the 8,096 provided so far have been for families who have a child or adolescent experiencing a mental health crisis requiring life saving treatment in the specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit (CAMS) at Orange Hospital.
The second highest category is for women from the region identified as experiencing a high-risk pregnancy.
Women and their family support members are provided with free accommodation for as long as required in the lead up to the birth of their baby, as they are monitored close to Orange Hospital before they go into labour.
Executive officer, Rebecca Walsh, said being able to provide such amazing services and support was vital for families.
"Being able to offer help to the O'Brien family from Goonumbla (near Parkes) recently has been a wonderful experience for the staff and volunteers of Ronald McDonald House Charities Orange," she said.
"Little Henry truly is a miracle baby after being born at 25 weeks and here at the house we are all thrilled he is able to be home now with his mum and dad Garry and Lou."
After staying at RMHC Orange to be monitored, Lou O'Brien was transferred to a major metropolitan hospital for delivery, however the family returned to RMHC when baby Henry transition to Orange Hospital before returning home with his parents.
Ms Walsh said RMHC will continue to provide support into the future for regional families.
"We are so pleased we are going online this year with our fundraising to broaden the involvement in our major event - the Gala Ball," she said.
For more information on RMHC Orange, visit www.rmhc.org.au/programs/houses/nsw/ronald-mcdonald-house-orange, or to support the Gala Ball online and take part in proceedings, visit www.ronaldmcdonaldhouseorange.com.au.
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