“When you think back to a time before RMHC and how parents had to do it – we are just so fortunate to have the support of RMHC”
With a house full of bustling boys and another one on the way, the Meads happy little life in rural Rotorua was sent into a tail spin when Jarod and Tracey’s youngest, Frank, was diagnosed with AML Leukaemia. At 18 months old, the couple’s beautiful little boy was sent to the National Children’s Hospital in Auckland, so he could receive specialist hospital treatment. After 5 months of treatment, Frank was in remission and sent home just in time for the birth of his new baby brother. However a mere six weeks later, Frank relapsed and the family were back in Auckland and Ronald McDonald House for round two.
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. Frank’s treatment was very isolating as the risk of infection was high; he spent all of his time in his hospital room. However when Frank was able to have visitors, it was such a big thing for him to be able to see his brothers Johannes, Charlie and Archie. “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” said Tracey.
As part of their stay, the Meads family were at RMHC for Christmas and they described it as such a happy time. Jarod said “we will not be here every Christmas, so we were happy to be here for this one”. “The family was all together and shared an amazing meal and that’s all that mattered” said Tracey. “What people give and do at RMHC is just incredible, and it all made it such a special experience for us”.
A whole new world has opened up for the family while staying at the House. The boys have made heaps of friends by doing numerous activities at the House, such as the on site art classes. The availability of bikes and scooters has enabled the family to get out and about and the numerous play areas and events keep the family busy. The House is also located right on the Domain, a massive park in Auckland, which has been great for the young active family.
Frank is now doing well and the way he laughs and giggles when playing with his brothers you would never know anything was ever wrong.