Winsom was only a few months-old when she became noticeably unwell. She began to develop black eyes, became lethargic and stopped eating. Residing in rural Hokianga, worried parents Michelle (mum) and Elai (dad) took baby Winsom to Whangarei Hospital. The doctors there suspected that Winsom had a tumour. The very next morning Winsom and her mum Michelle were sent by ambulance to the National Children’s Hospital in Auckland. There she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a very rare form of cancer; she would require frequent rounds of chemotherapy and was expected to be in hospital for many months.
Living in Hokianga, a four hour drive away from Auckland and having an older daughter Marvi (2) to take care of, Michelle and Elai needed to be near Winsom while she received specialist treatment. Fortunately for them, there was Ronald McDonald House in Auckland. Located within the vicinity of the hospital, Michelle and Elai were relieved that they were able to stay close to Winsom. “It’s just so nice having a place close to the hospital,” Michelle said.
While the family stayed in Auckland, they were overwhelmed with the support they received from Ronald McDonald House Charities. Michelle called it a “paradise” and expressed the family’s satisfaction with being able to stay at RMHC.
“It’s a paradise in the middle of the city. It’s really relaxing staying here. Having a place to stay is so wonderful and everyone has been so supportive” said Michelle.
Staying at the House has meant one less thing for the family to worry about; the distance of getting to the hospital. “Where we live is so rural, the hospital is so far away for us,” Michelle said.
RMHC has been there for the Buchanan family since the initial stages of Winsom’s treatment and will continue to be there for them throughout their entire medical journey. RMHC will do everything they can to help the family, enabling them to focus on the most important thing – supporting Winsom throughout her medical journey.