Nathalie’s Story

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A long road ahead

Jim & Helen’s daughter Nathalie was born in September 1999. Shortly after, in the year 2000, she was first admitted to Yorkhill Hospital with a diagnosis of renal failure.

“The sudden summons to the Renal Unit in Ward 1C was quite a shock to the family”, Jim & Helen told us. They didn’t know it then, but this would be the beginning of a long relationship for the family with Yorkhill and with Ronald McDonald House Glasgow. “The first days were pretty much a blur as we tried to grasp the situation. I suppose up until that point we were blissfully unaware of what a long and difficult road we were headed down…”

Nathalie was diagnosed with Bardet Beidl Syndrome, including early onset renal failure. “As with many of these syndromes, it can affect the individual in so many different ways”. Nathalie required dialysis from just three years old, which the family did at home. Then in November 2003, just after Nathalie turned four, she was fortunate to receive a renal transplant.

A ‘home away from home’ at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow

Over the years from Nathalie’s first diagnosis in 2000 right up until 2015, the family stayed at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow many times. “It was so comforting to be close to the hospital, and also to have a quiet  space to regroup for the next day and the next challenge and crisis”.

In 2014, Nathalie suffered a severe gut trauma, which resulted in most of her gut being removed. She spent 2 weeks in ITU and HDU, followed by a further five months in the Renal Unit. “We were fortunate enough to stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow for five months during this time, and were grateful for the quiet place to sleep, the kitchens to refuel, and the gardens for us all to enjoy the sun when we could as a family”. The family recall how the Commonwealth Games took place in 2014 while they were staying in Glasgow. “Whilst the majority of it passed us by, what little we were able to witness certainly brought a much-needed smile”.

Keeping in touch

Nathalie has now moved onto the adult services in her local area, but we are delighted to say that the family have kept in touch. Not only this, but they have supported the House in many different ways.

“As a family, we rode a sponsored cycle around the Isle of Arran. Nat rode tandem due to being registered blind. We were astounded with the support we received from friends and colleagues who recognised the benefit of the House, and also the challenge that Nat had set herself.”

“It would be so very difficult to put a monetary value on the use of the facility when it’s your hour of need, and as such we have also committed to make a monthly contribution so that others may benefit when required. During the pandemic, Nathalie has sold hand-made cards and took part in a fundraising challenge too”.

A wonderful volunteer

Nathalie is now working hard on her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. As part of this, before the Covid-19 pandemic started, she was one of our wonderful hard-working House volunteers! Giving up her time each week, Nathalie helped to clean and upkeep the House. We are delighted to hear that Nathalie hopes to come back when we can welcome volunteers once more. “[Volunteering is] something she is hopeful of continuing, by way of thank you for what has been an oasis for the Thomson family.”

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