David’s first stay at Yorkhill
When Anna and Willie’s son David was born in 2012, he was immediately taken to NICU. He spent the first five weeks of his life at Yorkhill Hospital, where he underwent two heart surgeries, and this was the Wilson family’s first stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.
David’s second stay at Yorkhill
In 2014, David needed another heart surgery at Yorkhill, leading to the family being offered a place to stay at the House once again. This time, however, their stay was to be longer.
“The surgery went badly, and he ended up in hospital for almost three months”, Anna told us. “He was very sick and his stay included three long heart surgeries and two runs of ECMO. He was in paediatric intensive care for most of this period, and we could not be with him overnight”. This was of course difficult for the family, but Anna recalls that knowing they were nearby at the House helped.
“On one occasion we were called to the unit in the early hours of the morning. He was in a serious condition, and they were trying to get him onto ECMO. We’d somehow slept through all the phones ringing and so a nurse had run over from the hospital and knocked on our door. We were grateful that they had been able to come and find us so we could get to the hospital quickly. And had we been further away, it would have been an awful journey to make knowing how bad things were looking”.
The Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow
A few years passed, and in 2017 it was time for David to undergo surgery once again. This time it would be at the new Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. “Again, we gratefully accepted a place at the House”, Anna told us. This time, their stay was thankfully shorter. “David’s medical team was expecting another difficult period of surgery/recovery but on this occasion everyone was surprised at how well things went and David was only in hospital for two weeks! The House once again provided us with a base near to David”.
An unexpected return to Glasgow
Despite the surgery going well, David’s stay in hospital in 2017 would not be his last. Two years later, one Wednesday evening, David suffered a brain haemorrhage. He was taken by ambulance to the family’s local hospital, and early the next morning he was taken to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. His brain surgery was scheduled for Friday.
“One of us to was able to ‘sleep’ – you don’t really sleep much! – beside David on the ward on the Thursday night. Unfortunately there was no room available at Ronald McDonald House. This meant one of us had to drive home then return early the next morning before David went to theatre. We were both beside ourselves with worry, had missed a whole night of sleep, and were exhausted – a nearby bed would have helped”. Fortunately David got to the ward after just two nights in intensive care, after which Anna and Willie took turns to stay with him overnight.
The difference accommodation at the House can make…
”Being the parent of a child in hospital places a lot of stress on you and it is exhausting. You want be at your child’s bedside as much as possible. Being able to stay on site means you don’t need to spend time travelling each day. Plus driving is not ideal given how tired you are”, Anna explained. “Having the kitchen facilities at Ronald McDonald House meant that we could prepare meals and hot drinks when we had come ‘home’ for the night and the hospital canteen was closed”.
We were delighted to hear that David is halfway through primary school now, and he loves to play computer games with his big brother, Liam! A few years ago, some of the family’s friends undertook some fundraising for the House, and David got a plaque on our Family Tree. We would like to say thank you to Anna and Willie not only for this fundraising support, but also for sharing David’s story and the family’s experience of staying at the House. Anna and Willie know that David will need further heart surgery at the children’s hospital, but they’re not sure how soon that will be. We hope we will be able to accommodate the family at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow once again when this happens.
You can make a difference to families with children in hospital
Ronald McDonald House Glasgow is an independent charity. As we are a self-funded House, it is our wonderful supporters who do ensure our doors can remain open to support families like David’s. It costs £75 per day to fully cover the cost for a family to stay at the House. If you would consider making a donation to support the families that the House supports, you can do so here .Back to Stories