Heather’s Family Story

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No cause for concern during pregnancy…

Liz had a perfectly normal pregnancy and had gone full term. It came as a complete shock to be told that her baby girl was seriously ill immediately after the birth.

Baby Heather was transferred by emergency ambulance to the children’s hospital at Yorkhill to receive lifesaving treatment. Liz needed to be discharged from hospital first, before making the journey to Glasgow with husband Derek.

Liz recalled how “Unfortunately [we] got repeatedly lost. The journey was a blur for me as I was very worried about Heather and was concerned that she might not make it to Glasgow”.

Finally, at the hospital

At the time of her admission, Heather was gravely unwell and was given just a 10% chance of survival. Upon arrival at the children’s hospital, Liz and Derek were allowed to see Heather. However, they were advised that she was not responding to medication and that they should summon their family to the hospital. A decision may need to be made regarding Heather’s life support.

Derek told us “This was traumatic for Liz and I. Due to Heather failing to respond to treatment, we accepted the offer to have Heather Christened at the hospital”.

The couple spent the first night on the ward with Heather where they were allowed the use of a parent’s room. Heather had been taken for surgery and then placed on ECMO (External Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine. A wall of equipment which gave her heart a rest by removing her blood, cleaning it, heating it and re-oxygenating it before running it back into her body. Heather was ventilated and prepared for open heart surgery.

Liz remembers some of the many worries the couple had at the time “We had no idea how we were going to manage staying close to Heather in hospital, while also having the responsibility for another young child”.

Ronald McDonald House Glasgow offers help

At this time a support nurse put in a referral to Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. The Charity allocated accommodation at no cost for all of the family. Liz remembers “This was invaluable to us, allowing us to stay together as a family, providing us with washing and cooking facilities and importantly allowing us to visit Heather at any time day or night who was not expected to survive”.

Over the next few months they lived as a family at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. A family which included Liz, Derek and daughter Lindsey, who was a 2 year old at the time.

Home in time for Christmas

Despite the odds against Heather and thanks to the expertise of the medical staff at the children’s hospital, Heather made a recovery. She was discharged just prior to Christmas as ‘Yorkhill’s Baby of the Year’!!

Throughout Heather’s life she has undergone several protracted periods of hospitalisation. Each time the family stayed at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, allowing them to stay together as a family.

A bright future ahead

Heather is well now and a qualified paediatric nurse at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.

Ronald McDonald House Glasgow remains very close to the family’s hearts and they have endeavoured to support the House since receiving help all those years ago. As well as an ongoing monthly donation by direct debit the family have made large donations. The family’s donations were recognised with a plaque on the Family Tree. These have been added to the Commemorative Book since the move from Yorkhill to Govan.

Derek was able to speak to his employer at the time (Digital Equipment) who made a sizable donation! The company came to realise that Ronald McDonald House Glasgow had helped several employees. They had all resided at the House while their children underwent treatment at Yorkhill!

A message from the House

We are delighted to hear that Heather and her family are all doing so well. It is wonderful to know that Heather has gone on to help other sick children and wish her all the very best in her career.

If you would like to help more children to have the love and support of their families, please donate today. Thank you.

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