Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is asking people to come outside in November for a fun and fit month of walking, running, horseback riding or gliding to raise much-needed funds to help them take care of the families of sick children.
The Red Wig Challenge raised more than $ 33,000 last year, which helped support 1,285 families with children undergoing treatment at Canberra Hospital with 2,744 overnight stays.
The Stephenson family was one such family.
A year after his birth, baby Noah has spent almost more time in the hospital than at home.
Ali and Adam and daughter Harriet welcomed Noah to their family in week 36 at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Garran. He was then diagnosed with Down syndrome and spent two weeks at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Only four months old, Noah returned to the hospital to have bowel surgery and is now, as a year old, back again for another surgery.
The Stephenson family lives in Crookwell, rural NSW, but during the entire family’s roller coaster ride to the hospital, they were set up in Ronald McDonald House so they could live close to their son and not have to face a three-hour return trip each time. day.
Ali said they will be eternally grateful.
“It almost brought us to tears to walk through the facility and see everything available to our family at such a vulnerable time in our lives, including being able to perform simple tasks such as washing clothes, making a cup of coffee, taking a shower or spending time with extended family, ”she said.
“We will be eternally grateful that we were able to come and go as we needed so we could still be by Noah’s side when he needed us most.”
Father Adam said it was a relief to be free to worry about worldly problems and instead focus on being there for their new son.
“Having a seat in the Ronald McDonald House certainly removed the financial and emotional burden of having to worry about accommodation during Noah’s hospital visit, and instead this allowed us to focus our energy solely on supporting Noah,” he said.
“Having access to the kitchen also meant we did not spend time and money on takeaway or cafeteria meals.
“Until you are in a situation where you need this service, it’s hard to know how it will benefit people, but to see and experience Ronald McDonald House first hand, we will be eternally grateful.”
The RMHC asks people from Canberra and the surrounding parts of NSW to participate in the Red Wig Challenge by choosing to ride, walk, run or glide your way towards a predetermined number of kilometers, either solo or with family members, friends or co-workers.
“This year we would like to raise at least $ 50,000, which will pay for nearly 380 overnight stays to support families from across the ACT and South East NSW once their world has been turned upside down with a sick child in the hospital,” the fundraising and marketing manager said Robyn Zwar.
Once you are registered online, you will be sent your very own red wig and you can start clocking the miles up. Individuals and team members are encouraged to share photos on their social media so friends and family can help them reach their fundraising goals.
Ronald McDonald House in Canberra is located on level two of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Garran and supports about 30 families each month with accommodation.
The Family Room receives an average of 900 visits per month, while Family Retreat can support up to eight families per month.
Ronald McDonald House Canberra welcomes anyone interested in fundraising, donation or volunteer work to get involved.
“We are so excited to run this event almost again this year,” Robyn said.
“The people of Canberra really stood behind the challenge last year … We hope this year’s event will be supported just as well and we can come together to help families like the Stephenson family and be there for them when they need it most. before that.”
If you would like to know more about the charity and Red Wig Challenge 2021, visit the website.