If Greer’s family counted up all the nights they have stayed with RMHC New Zealand, it would be almost a year.
In 2009, Daniel and Aimee were enjoying family life with their two young girls. At the time Hannah was three and Greer 14 months. Greer hadn’t been a happy baby and cried a lot, so the couple knew something wasn’t quite right. Despite repeated visits to the doctors, the Dannevirke couple were given no answer as to why. Then one day, Greer let out a different, alarming cry, and they rushed her to hospital.
After a series of tests at Palmerston North Hospital, the doctors gave Aimee and Daniel the heartbreaking news that no parent ever wants to hear: Greer had a rare tumor in her spinal cord. It was so high up in her neck that it would affect her breathing, and the doctors weren’t sure anything could be done surgically. The family was told to go home, pack enough clothes for two months and drive to Wellington immediately.
“There is no way to describe how it feels being told your baby has cancer, which may not be treatable, let alone go home and pack for a very long stay away. It was devastating and we were thrust into the hospital system, far from home and our extended family, with no idea of where we would sleep or eat that night,” remembers Aimee.
Still struggling to comprehend the past few hours, the family arrived at Wellington Hospital. Aimee recalls being told the whole family had a place to stay at Ronald McDonald House just across the road. When Aimee and Daniel stepped into the House, they were amazed by what it offered.
“The House was so homely, warm and comfortable; the staff were also wonderful and took us under their wings. Knowing there’s a meal cooked for you a few nights a week and the cupboards are stocked if you’re stuck was such a relief. With these practical things taken care of, we could focus on Greer.”