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92.9fm Regional News

  • Writer's pictureAlayna Fong

Milestone for Ronald McDonald House

For 15 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities have played a critical role in the New England North West community, providing much needed support for sick children and their families.

With five rooms, more than 2000 families have used the facility since its opening in 2008.

Manager for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Northern NSW, Ross Bingham explained Tamworth was the ideal location for one of the very few regional houses because of its outreach.

“There’s not many regional Ronald McDonald Houses and when you’re looking at the New England North West area, the major hospital is Tamworth Base Hospital and the major Children’s hospital is John Hunter in Newcastle,” said Mr Bingham.

“So, families from that region with serious illnesses and injuries often go to Tamworth before heading down to Newcastle, and a lot of families with other types of injuries and illnesses and even babies that come early attend Tamworth Base. So, it’s quite a large outreach area and that’s why it was a suitable site.”

It was evident there was high demand for a house in the New England with the Tamworth Base Hospital being stretched to its limits due to a sheer number of families travelling from places as far as Wee Waa and Moree for specialist care.

In some cases, only one family member was able to accompany a sick child and had to find and pay for their own accommodation for what was sometimes lengthy stays.

Tamworth House Manager, Rhiannon Curtis said on average families travel 180km to receive the support of the Ronald McDonald House, simply because hospitals in smaller communities don’t have the capacity to cater to such serious illness and injuries.

“A lot of families end up here in Tamworth with very little warning, so when they walk through our doors, our amazing volunteers welcome them and make sure they’re feeling comfortable and safe,” said Ms Curtis.

“We try to relieve some of that stress they are feeling being away from home with their sick or injured child.”

Even getting the house built was a testament to the Tamworth community.

In just three days the house was built from a slab to being locked and ready for electricity and plumbing works to begin.

Tamworth Mayor Russell Webb said it just goes to show what the Tamworth community can do.

“There were community members that donated money, there were community members who donated their time. People said it couldn’t be done and in no time, it was,” he said.

“The [community] got behind it and they continue to get behind it today.”

(L-R) 92.9FM Work Days announcer Amelia, Tamworth House Manager Rhiannon Curtis, and 92.9FM Breakfast announcer JB at the 15 year celebration.

92.9FM and 2TM are just one of the organisations that have continued their support over the 15 years, hosting an outside broadcast during the impressive build, hosting another at the 10 year celebration and again this week at the 15 year celebration.

92.9FM Breakfast Announcer JB has been along for the entire ride.

“I think its really impressive and I do believe it has a touching personal connection with the community which just makes it even more special,” he shared.

“There may be other Ronald McDonald Houses around Australia and the world, but it’s the fact that the community really pushed for a house in Tamworth.

“It’s my understanding over half of the house was built from donated items and tradies’ time, and still to this day is ran by the community through volunteering and renovations.”

If you would like to contribute to Tamworth Ronald McDonald House this milestone, they are aiming to raise $15,000 in 15 days.

The goal ends on September 19. Call the house direct on 02 6767 8900 to donate.


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