Draw strength from others facing similar challenges

The Foreman Family, Papamoa

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. However, it all happened much earlier than expected when Victoria developed severe preeclampsia and was flown to Auckland Hospital on an emergency flight.

With everything happening so suddenly, Victoria and her family didn’t have any plans in place. She didn’t know how long she would be away from her home in Papamoa or how her husband Andrew and children Khloe and Blake would cope without Mum around.When Nixon was born a few days later, Victoria was relieved to hear her family could stay at Ronald McDonald House while he was in hospital. During the weekends, school holidays and whenever they had time to visit, Andrew, Khloe, Blake – and sometimes even the grandparents – would stay at the House.

“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.”

Their initial four week stay turned into four months as Nixon’s condition was worse than anticipated.

Having a place in Auckland that felt like a home was incredibly comforting for Victoria and meant she could give her full attention to Nixon and his treatment. “It had everything…even little things like umbrellas waiting at the front door when it’s raining,” she says.

Home cooked meals prepared by volunteers also made life easier. Victoria is especially grateful to the staff who saved her dinner when she came back from the ward late at night. “After spending the whole day at the hospital, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook,” she says.

When the whole family was at the House, these meals also allowed them to spend quality time together and helped to restore some normality to their lives.

Victoria loved how well the House catered for children. She never had to worry about keeping Khloe and Blake – who made plenty of new friends in the House – entertained.

Victoria also found new friendships with other mums at the House in similar situations. “Often you can feel like you’re the only one going through hard times, but meeting the other families makes you realise you are definitely not alone.”

The whole family is now back home in Papamoa and continue to stay at the House when Nixon needs treatment in Auckland. Victoria and Andrew are so grateful for the support of Ronald McDonald House when they need it. They are now planning to host a dinner night at the House to support other families.

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