The Corbin family, originally from Wellington, first came to our Ronald McDonald House in Auckland just before their second son Finn was born.
During a scan to find out the sex of their second baby mum Jenifer (Jen) and dad Ben were shocked to discover that their baby Finn had a serious heart condition. They then found out that to ensure Finn had the best chance at life he would need to have access to the National Children’s Hospital in Auckland. Shortly before Finn’s birth Jen and Ben traveled to Auckland to ensure that baby Finn would have access to the specialist care he needed.
While Finn was being born with the help of a team of specialists, Jen and Ben’s older son Ollie (2) moved into Ronald McDonald House with his Aunty Anna. Jen joined them once she was discharged from the maternity ward. “When we first got here we couldn’t believe this place existed, we were amazed,” said Jen.
Jen found the House to be a lifesaver as it enabled her to carry on looking after Ollie while she also focused on Finn. Although dad Ben had to return to Wellington for work, he was able to return to Auckland in the weekend to spend time with the family. Jen is extremely grateful that her mother and sister were able to stay at the House, supporting her while Ben was at home. The Corbin family built strong relationships with other families at the House. “The support of other families staying here has been invaluable; finding likeminded people you can share your experience with and talk to about your situation” said Jen.
Six months after first moving into Ronald McDonald House, Jen, Ben and Ollie were finally able to take Finn home; a happy occasion yet also tinged with sadness as they left the House and their newfound friends. RMHC continues to support The Corbin family as their medical journey continues, and they have been back to the House multiple times throughout Finns treatment. These visits allow them to see many familiar faces that “have become like family to us” said Jen.
Jen also shared with us how the House has helped their eldest son Ollie become a vital part of their families’ support system. “When it was Finn’s first time being in the House, and no longer a baby staying on the ward. It was nice to see Ollie showing him around the House – they could share that part of their lives”.
With just a few minor setbacks along the way, Finn’s health has remained stable. The family has now moved to Te Awamutu with their two boys and youngest daughter Madeline. They are a bit closer to the National Children’s Hospital and Finns Treatment here but still visit our House on occasion for check-ups.
RMHC has been a haven for the Corbin family and will continue to be for the duration of Finns treatment. “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.”