Volunteers provide comfort

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Julie has visited the Ronald McDonald Family Room every day since her grandson, Frankie was diagnosed with a solid cancerous tumor and transported to the John Hunter Children’s Hospital to begin treatment. “My other grandson Leo, and I spend most of our time in the Family Room. It makes me sad being in the hospital room sometimes, so I just go out there for a bit of a reprieve. I love to talk to the volunteers, they are amazing.”

Julie and her husband Ashley had been looking forward to a year of travelling and enjoying recent retirement, but their plans have been put on hold since 3 year old Frankie had his cancer diagnosis. They are now spending their days supporting their son Ben and daughter-in-law Amanda as they endure the stress and upheaval of Frankie’s illness.

“As a Nanna, I don’t just look at Frankie, but I also look in my son’s eyes and it kills me to see what he’s going through. He has had to give up his job, it’s just so tough. ” says Julie.

The Family Room has provided some small comforts to help ease the family’s burden.   So Ben, Amanda, Leo, Julie and Ashley can all be close to Frankie’s bedside and stay together they have been provided with a fully self-contained 2 bedroom unit at Ronald McDonald House Newcastle.

“Now we have our unit at the House we can sit here which is even better. Even though it’s not somewhere you want to be, if you have to be somewhere its beautiful,” says Julie. “I must say the volunteers are just amazing people aren’t they? Those ladies that sit over in the Family Room. They help people put their washing on, show people where the food is and wrap up teddy bears. They talk to you if you need someone to talk to, and hold babies if they need to hold a baby while mum is busy with the toddler. They’re great.”