Draw strength from others facing similar challenges

Our Families

The strength and courage of our families is an inspiration and over the years Ronald McDonald House Charities has welcomed thousands of families from all over New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Each year around 3700 families call our Houses home.

There is no better way to understand the value of our House than hearing from our families directly so some of our family ambassadors have shared their story with you highlighting the different circumstances which bring families to Ronald McDonald House and what their stay meant to them.

Poppy, Estelle and Lily-Rose Dixon

The Dixon Family, Hamilton

“Our baby girl was so sick, we weren't sure she would survive. The House was there as a sanctuary away from all things clinical.” - Estelle Dixon When Hamilton parents Estelle and Nathan Dixon’s little girl was born in June last year, they never envisaged their first Christmas with her would be spent at the hospital in Auckland.  Poppy was just 11 weeks old when mum Estelle noticed something wasn’t right.

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Bateman Family

The Bateman Family, Palmerston North

“The families staying here all understand your exact situation and the staff are just wonderful. You have so much support that it doesn’t feel all bad,” said Bronwyn. A normal day at kindy took a turn for the worse and life for the Bateman family from Palmerston North changed drastically. When playing outside two-year-old Toby picked up a leaf to show his teacher, and when she bent down she noticed that his pupils were different sizes.

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The Foreman Family, Papamoa

“We just don’t know where we’d be without this place. I know everyone says that, but that’s because it’s true,” says Victoria. “You have no idea how amazing it is until you’re here.” Bay of Plenty mum Victoria Foreman always knew she would need to give birth to baby Nixon in Auckland. She’d been told Nixon would need to receive specialist treatment for his heart at the National Children’s Hospital.

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Shury Family

The Shury Family, Waitara

“Having the House there made such a difference. We absolutely couldn’t have done it otherwise” The Shury family from Waitara began their journey with Ronald McDonald House when their twin daughters were prematurely born.

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Rachael and Cam Bartle

The Bartle Family, Hawke's Bay

“As soon as we got Cam off the wards and into the House he was a different kid, running around the House having fun with his brother, something he never did on the ward” The Bartle family first came to Ronald McDonald House Auckland (RMHA) in 2012 when mum Rachael was pregnant with Cameron (Cam).  Parents Rachael and Nick, along with their older son Cory and Nana Lyn traveled up to Auckland, knowing that baby Cam would be born with a cardiac condition.  

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The Paggao Family, Auckland

Cindy and Noel Paggao were faced with potentially life-changing news when they were told that their 1-year old son Noah had Sinus Venous ASD (a hole in his heart).

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The Meads Family Square

The Meads Family, Ngakuru

“Frank thrived when he saw his brothers. When he had ward leave and he was able to come to the House and be with his brothers, he was himself again” It was a big year for the Meads family through diagnosis, a new baby and their eldest son starting school. However the most important thing for the family was being able to stay together and therefore remain strong.

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Gallagher family RMHA square

The Gallagher Family, Rotorua

“You can’t ever underestimate the value of this House and the support, it’s just amazing.” The Gallagher family stayed with us on and off for two years, and even though they are no longer here with us they continue to support the house through raising funds and awareness in their local community, a reflection of their gratitude.

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The Buchanan Family square

The Buchanan Family, Kohukohu - Hokianga

“It’s a paradise in the middle of the city” The Buchanan family arrived at Ronald McDonald House when their daughter Winsom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The family has been overwhelmed by the support they continue to receive at the House.

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The Corbin family Domain square

The Corbin Family, Te Awamutu

“The House has helped us to be a ‘normal’ family and made it so much easier to look after Ollie, this place has become like my home.” The Corbin family, originally from Wellington, first came to our Ronald McDonald House in Auckland just before their second son Finn was born. The family still visit our House on occasion for check-ups.

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Tamihere Family

The Tamihere Family, Kawerau

“My treatment was long and I couldn’t go home to Kawerau for almost a year, it would have been harder if I didn’t have my family!” The Tamiheres first arrived at Ronald McDonald House in 2014 after Mikaera underwent surgery for a Bone Marrow transplant. Mikaera has since made a long but steady recovery and has become a vocal advocate for our charity. 

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The Anderson Family square

The Anderson Family, Waipukurau - Hawke's bay

“RMHC allowed me to focus all of my energy on my son and his care.” Ronald McDonald House Charities played a special part in the Anderson families life, supporting them for the first seven years of Lochie’s life.

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Olivia and Georgie Ferris

The Ferris Family, Nelson

“RMH is the best place in the world to be when your world has been turned upside down” While the Ferris family was in Auckland, Robyn described the support they received from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) as incredible. No matter how bad your day was, the staff was always there to support you.

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