Erin and Tim welcomed their baby boy Kingsley into the world just over three years ago. Unlike other children who spend around 37 to 42 weeks growing in their mother’s tummy, Kingsley was born prematurely at just 24 weeks.

Unlike the other babies in the ward, Kingsley needed extra support and had to be monitored 24/7 in the Neonatal Intensive Care (NIC) unit.

Erin and Tim, new parents themselves, did all they could to be with and provide for their newborn baby.

“For three weeks, Tim and I would drive to John Hunter Children’s Hospital every day, while also having the added stress of moving to a new house in the process. As soon as we woke up, we would go to the hospital and then we would come home very late, just to be able to spend as much time with Kingsley as we could,” Erin recalls.

The late nights, long drives, unpredictable weather and emotional distress began to eat away at Erin and Tim.

Despite wanting to be by Kingsley’s side for every procedure, check-in and operation, it was becoming increasingly exhausting for the new parents.

Fortunately, Ronald McDonald House gave Erin and Tim a home away from home so they could be near their son while he was in hospital.

“After a few nights in the hotel, a social worker approached us and told us we had been put on the list to stay at the Ronald McDonald House – and then they said we’d been approved to move in,” said Erin.

Instead of driving an hour or more from the Central Coast to see their baby boy, Ronald McDonald House were able to give them peace of mind.

“When we moved in it felt like so much relief. We could see Kingsley at any time we wanted, relieved that if anything went wrong, we would be within walking distance.”

The Ronald McDonald House was able to provide a range of facilities for Erin and Tim, to ensure they could maintain a sense of normality whilst they cared for Kingsley.

In the moments of hardship and struggle, Erin recalls that the Ronald McDonald House staff always pulled through for them.

“Being in the house brought a smile back on our faces. A time that had started off so incredibly stressful began to get easier,” Erin said.

“The staff at the house would always have their door open for the families and assisted us with whatever we needed.”

Finally, after many heartbreaking moments and one-hundred and twenty days as a patient at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Kingsley could go home.

Erin and Tim believe that the help Ronald McDonald House provided truly made all the difference in Kingsley’s recovery and their own lives.

“The house and the rooms that we used not only helped Tim and I remain sane during our stressful journey, but I believe it helped keep Kingsley strong and healthy as well. We were able to be with him,” Erin said.

Ronald McDonald House in Newcastle ensures families with sick children get the full support they need during what can be the most stressful time of their lives.

For the month of September, community members, gyms and businesses will pull together for the Ride for Sick Kids to provide crucial funds that will help us to keep our doors open so we can support hundreds of other families, just like Kingsley’s.

Will you get on a bike and join the ride for Kingsley?