Support for sick kids gets airport into full swing

June 4, 2019

Extended stays in hospital are no fun for anyone, let alone young children and their families.

But thanks to Ronald McDonald House Charities North Australia (RMHC North Australia) – and the ongoing support of Townsville Airport – young patients at Townsville Hospital are able to get some relief thanks to the services and support offered by the charity in its Ronald McDonald Family Room (Family Room).

The Family Room provides a home away from home for the young patients and their families – many of whom are forced to leave their own homes for extended periods of time while their loved ones are receiving medical care.

To help fund their services, RMHC North Australia hosted its 13th Annual Charity Gala, one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, with more than 400 people attending the event on June 1.

This year, Townsville Airport is playing host by providing the use of one of its NAACEX hangars to the charity for the evening, inspiring the ‘vintage military’ theme of the event.

Townsville Airport Chief Operating Officer Kevin Gill said his team was committed to doing whatever they could to help the young patients and their families through tough times.

“RMHC North Australia does such a great job in helping to alleviate the incredible stress and strain family members endure when they are nursing a sick child, and we are pleased we are able to do something to help,” he said.

“We are a passionate supporter of the charity and will continue to provide whatever support we can through working bees, cooking meals for families, sponsoring the Family Room and being an integral partner in appeals throughout the year.”

All money raised will go towards helping the charity run several important programs, including their house at Townsville Hospital which can accommodate more than 100 people each night, allowing families to be close to their sick children. The facility hosts approximately 400 families each year, who can stay for up to three months at a time. It also offers a family retreat at Palm Cove, providing a stress-free tropical holiday destination for families from across Australia with a seriously ill child, or those grieving the loss of a child. The facility operates at 100 per cent capacity and has a two-year waitlist.

Another service offered by the charity is their Learning Program, which helps young children catch up with their schoolwork after missing significant amounts of education due to extended stays in hospital. It also offers scholarships to assist tertiary students who have battled serious illness pursue their dreams.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at the Townsville Hospital has welcomed more than 20,000 visitors in its first 12 months of operation.