Draw strength from others facing similar challenges

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”

When seventeen year old Georgia Ferris gastrointestinal system stopped working in May 2013, Georgia quickly deteriorated and became extremely unwell. In the family’s hometown in Nelson, a multitude of tests were undertaken trying to determine what was wrong with Georgia but to no avail. Georgia and her mum Robyn were then sent to Auckland Hospital for further assessments and biopsies. In November 2013 the family headed home to Nelson, still without a diagnosis.

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 says Robyn, “You can walk through the door and burst into tears and they are there for you in an instant”.

The term ‘distraction therapy’, as coined by the Ferris family, was another aspect of RMHC that really helped the ladies in their journey. While the family was in Auckland, RMHC enabled them to attend basketball games and the stage show Wicked. Outings like this really helped the family, as it got them away from the hospital and made them feel like a normal family again.

In the school holidays, Georgia’s twin Olivia came up to Auckland to stay with her mum and sister. However when it was time for her to go home, Robyn didn’t want her to leave. Seeing this, a staff member suggested to Robyn that why doesn’t Olivia stay in Auckland with her family. At its heart RMHC is about keeping families together and it dawned on Robyn that to get through this they had to keep the family together and with the support of RMHC that’s what they did.

“Robyn described the house as such a safe place
for families to stay. Meeting the other families in the House
and learning their stories really helped create a sense of family
and was a major part that helped Robyn get through.”

The search for Georgia’s diagnosis is still underway; however Robyn and her girls will always hold RMHC close to their hearts and have said they will never be able to repay RMHC for everything they have done for their family.

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