Recently Little Lives UK have proudly donated £1,000 worth of toys and play equipment for children to play with who use the services of Ronald McDonald House in Tooting.
Ronald McDonald House is a vital home away from home for children who are being treated in St George’s Hospital. It not only gives the children respite from severe and invasive treatments but it also gives the children’s families a place to relax with their child in a more homely environment than a hospital ward.
What is Ronald McDonald House Charities?
Starting in 1974 in Philadelphia, USA, Ronald McDonald Houses started after Philadelphia Eagles player Fred Hill’s daughter was suffering from leukaemia. He along with his team mates, paediatric oncologist Dr Audrey Evans, and McDonald’s, teamed up to raise over $100,000 to support the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Fred’s daughter was being treated.
Dr Aubrey Evans requested a further $32,000 to open a House, where children who were receiving treatment could be away from the hospital setting. Ed Rensi, who at the time was an area manager of McDonald’s had the idea of donating the proceeds of the ‘Shamrock Shake’ to their cause. After this donation and the hard work of the early supporters the first Ronald McDonald House was opened in Philadelphia on the 15th October 1974.
In the past nearly 50 years the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities has helped over 50,000 families and now runs 13 Ronald McDonald houses in the UK. They have Houses in Alder Hey, Arrowe Park, Birmingham, Brighton, Camberwell, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Evelina London, Manchester, Moorfields, Oxford, Southampton and Tooting.
Who does Ronald McDonald House Charities help?
The children and families who come to Ronald McDonald Charities Houses and are supported by them are offered a ‘home away from home’. The Houses, which are just a few steps away from children’s hospitals, have everything that is needed for them to be comfortable. Each House has en-suite bedrooms, a phone line directly to the hospital, a garden or outdoor space for reflection, communal kitchen and lounge areas.
The Houses are to support the families of children who are ill and receiving treatment in hospitals. They allow parents to be close to their children whilst they are receiving treatment.
What can you do at a Ronald McDonald House Charities?
At the Tooting House there is a huge range of things for children and families to do to make them feel as comfortable and ‘normal’ as possible. There is a games room filled with toys for children to play with, a garden to play in with a vegetable patch, slide and toys, a kitchen for families to cook in together and a lounge area to relax in.
At the Houses families can also access the peer support and comfort that may be needed at difficult times from the extremely friendly and professional team members who are always on hand to lend advice. The care which is offered is also family-centric so everything a family needs or, how a family wants to work, is catered for. At the toughest times it has been recognised that the support network around the family affected should be strong but also flexible towards the family’s needs.
How do Ronald McDonald Houses help people?
Not only do the Houses give the support, stability and a place for families to stay whilst their child is receiving care but they also help to cut the cost of accommodation for families who need to stay nearby the hospitals their child is in. In 2021, Ronald McDonald Houses saved families an average of £1,240 in accommodation costs with their free room referrals.
If there aren’t rooms available at one of the houses then Day Passes are offered to families so they can make use of the facilities and take a well needed break from treatment. Day Passes are available when a family does not need to stay overnight or if there are no rooms available.
Little Lives UK and Ronald McDonald House Tooting
We are proud to announce that we have donated £1,000 worth of toys to the Ronald McDonald House in Tooting. The house is a five-minute walk away from one of our charity shops so we feel a huge connection with the work they do in an area of London we know so well and work in. The donation includes a trampoline, a wooden doctor surgery set, arts & crafts equipment, bubbles, outdoor play equipment, Playmobil and games.
With all of the games and equipment in the house free for children to use, over time they have become a little worn. With the new toys, children can now play with a wider variety and get involved in more activities to give themselves and their families a break from hospital treatments.
After a tour of the facilities, Little Lives UK and their ambassador, gymnast Issy Haigh, learnt about the families who stay and use the house, the activities that are available to the children, the accommodation for families, the garden and the selfless work that volunteers do at the house.
We are proud to be supporting such an incredible organisation and facility who do so much for young people who may have to travel from all around the country to receive treatment in St George’s Hospital’s specialist children’s unit. We look forward to working with Ronald McDonald House Charities further in the future and continuing our support with their work.