The O’Brien Family Story

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Keith to London!

When Charlie was born, his family found themselves far away from their home in Keith (in north east Scotland), as he had life-saving surgery in the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. The left side of Charlie’s heart had not formed properly, and he was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The Evelina Hospital has performed all of Charlie’s heart surgeries to date.

London to Glasgow!

Sadly, Charlie had airway damage too and needed reconstructive surgery, and this took place at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. Charlie had major complications while recovering from his surgery in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Thankfully, during this time Ronald McDonald House Glasgow was able to offer Charlie’s family a room. Sara explains “Ronald McDonald House [Glasgow] was our safe zone; to feel at home, to get away from the stress of hospital – but at the same time, it’s only a 5-minute walk [away]”.

Sara reminisced on how she would sit and chat with other families in the House, who also had children in PICU. “It felt comforting to grab a bite to eat with others in the same situation”.

Another comfort to be found in the kitchen was the food donated by various generous companies. “[It] was always a bonus” mentioned Sara. Having food easily available to pick up in a rush made life that little bit easier.

A comfortable place to stay.

The O’Brien family stayed for almost 40 nights. Thanks to the House they were able to stay close to Charlie and give him the love and support he needed. They were able to use the House to recuperate and have the space and facilities to cook meals, wash clothes and importantly get much needed rest.

Sara went on to say, “The comfy beds are just amazing, there’s a library room with board games in case you have other children with you to keep occupied… and the night security are always a good laugh!”

Charlie is recovering well. He has learnt to sit, roll, walk and talk again! The family await further heart surgery in both Glasgow and London. We wish Charlie and his family all the very best, with a speedy and full recovery.

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