Fiona and Paul’s daughter Beathan was born with a rare genetic condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.
“Beathan had many problems associated with her condition”, Fiona told us. She spent a week in ITU in Edinburgh with aspiration pneumonia. When she was transferred to Crosshouse Hospital closer to home she began having seizures, but the family were able to get her home in time for Christmas. However, on the 27th December 2004, Beathan’s breathing deteriorated and Fiona and Paul rushed her back to Crosshouse. “She had to be intubated, and the decision was made to transfer her to Yorkhill. We arrived late that night and stayed in a room within the hospital. We were terrified about what was happening and unsure if she would survive”. Beathan was just four months old at this time.
Staying close to Beathan in Glasgow
The next day, the family were offered a room at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. “We really didn’t know much about the House”, Fiona recalls, “but it was fantastic”.
The family stayed at the Yorkhill House from 28th December 2004 – 24th February 2005, allowing them to be close by their daughter. Accommodation at the House also meant their two sons Declan (who was six years old at the time) and Callan (who was three) could be there too, keeping the whole family together.
“My husband could go to work and the boys could come and stay at the weekends. It was a relief to be able to live close to the ITU as I couldn’t drive, so it would have been very difficult for me to travel from Kilmarnock”.
“The House allowed a happy place for the boys to come and be with us. They loved to visit the transport museum when they weren’t with their sister”. Fiona recalls how as a family they celebrated new year in Glasgow – and how Declan and Callan loved seeing the city’s fireworks from the window. Later, when February came around, they made Valentines cards for their little sister.
Other family members were able to come and visit Beathan too. “The House also allowed a space for extended family to come and meet Beathan one at a time”.
A rollercoaster journey
“We spent the nine weeks of our stay on a rollercoaster of good and bad news. On Monday 21st February Beathan had a tracheotomy, but unfortunately she died on the 23rd. We will forever be grateful to Ronald McDonald House Glasgow for allowing us to spend the time we did with Beathan, and to all be together as a family”.
A family update – and inspiring fundraising
Declan and Callan are now grown up, aged 22 and 19. Fiona went on to study biomedical science, now working in Pathology at Crosshouse Hospital. The family have gone on to undertake fundraising to support the service that the House provides. Over the years they have cycled the West Highland Way, abseiled, run 10k, and even held their own fundraising disco. Last year, during the pandemic, they took part in the first Ronald McDonald House Glasgow Teddy Bears Picnic and raised vital funds for the House once more.
Thank you from all at the House
Thank you Fiona for sharing the story of Beathan’s bravery, and for allowing us an insight as to how accommodation at the House enabled your family to spend precious moments together.
We welcome anyone reading this to make a donation to the Charity. Your support keeps the doors of the House open: you enable parents and carers to spend more time with their children, and you enable children to spend more time with the special people in their lives. We all know that time is priceless – so thank you so much for supporting Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.Back to Stories