The McCartney Family Story

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“When our son Tom arrived into the world, we had no idea the massive journey he had in front of him, or the change this would bring in our lives. Tom was born with a number of medical issues including a heart defect, respiratory problems and a missing oesophagus. None of these problems were detected at our ante natal scans so we were completely shocked when the doctor came to speak to us the next day.”

“Any sense of what is normal and expected when you have a baby, disappeared when the doctors told us Tom was to be transferred to Glasgow in a couple of hours and would likely be there for a number of weeks. We were confused and emotional and very worried about our baby as he was facing his first major surgery at just over 36 hours old.” 

“But secondary to that were the practical worries when we realised we were not allowed to stay on the ward with Tom while he was in Intensive Care. Our tiny baby was seriously ill, I was recovering from a caesarean section and couldn’t drive or walk any distance, and we lived 25 miles away. How would we travel back and forth to Glasgow every day? … How would we afford the petrol costs? What would we do for sleeping and eating when we wanted to spend all our time at the hospital? What if there was an emergency, would we get there in time? It was just too much to take in and process on top of everything else.”

“When we arrived on the Ward, the nurse explained that we could stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. I realised we would literally be minutes walk away from Tom. When we moved in the sense of relief was enormous. At least this was one huge thing taken care of amongst all the other worries and stress. And so Ronald McDonald House Glasgow became our new home.”

“Tom faced surgery after surgery, complication after complication, the weeks turned into months. Still the House was there at the end of each day to try and make something to eat and grab some sleep, helping us stay strong for Tom who was in Intensive Care for 6 months. We ended up staying for almost 7 months.”

“After 3 amazing months at home, he became unwell again and needed more time in Intensive Care, more surgery and another 3 month stay in hospital. Again Ronald McDonald House Glasgow was there for us, giving us a bed and somewhere close to Tom when things were at their most difficult. There were several times where the hospital had to call us over in the middle of the night because Tom had become very unwell, and we were able to be there in minutes. There were points we were told he might not make it, he went through a dozen surgeries, some taking over 10 hours, we spent countless hours by his beside and in waiting rooms, we had meetings with doctors and specialists… it was exhausting.”

“I do not think we could have functioned and been able to be there for Tom if it wasn’t for the space we had across the road, never mind the financial impact of having a 50 mile round trip every day.”

“In total we spent nearly 200 days of the first year or so of Tom’s life staying at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, including Tom’s first Christmas and his 1st birthday. It felt so familiar it was almost strange going home!” 

“If you do get the chance to take part in or donate to a fundraising event, please give generously, as it keeps parents close by to children when they are very unwell and need their family the most.”

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