Ronald McDonald House Westmead has officially opened the doors to its newest facility and the largest House of its kind in NSW, which will help provide even more families with a home away from home while their sick or injured child is undergoing treatment.
Located just metres from NSW’s largest pediatric center, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the new House will offer more than double the capacity of the current House. New facilities include multiple room types, a custom designed fully accessible bathroom, numerous retreat areas, a Learning Centre, health and fitness centre, six individual family kitchens and a dedicated Volunteer’s kitchen.
Speaking at the facility grand opening, Parramatta Eels and Ronald McDonald House Westmead ambassador Tim Mannah reflected on the efforts to get to the official opening.
“It’s obviously really impressive. I think the coolest thing is the journey it has taken to get here. I know this is the finish or the start line, depending how you look at it, but the last 7-8 years, the effort that has gone in to getting to this point is really impressive,” Mannah said.
“Today a lot of the people that did all the hard work can really reflect all the efforts it took from a big community to get here.”
The Parramatta Eels have had a long standing connection with Ronald McDonald House Westmead and Mannah says the upgraded facilities are great.
“The Club gets a lot out of it, and I have been an ambassador for 7-8 years, and the Club has been involved since 1995, since the first year they opened, so there is a big connection between the Club and this place but to see the families that come in here and seeing what they get out of it, anyone that has had a sick child will really appreciate what this place does,” Mannah says.
“To be able to link families from outside of town a place to stay whilst their children are undergoing treatments is a huge help and I think it is something that every family needs.” He added.
“I think it is so great now that we have a big facility that has a bigger capacity to look after more families.”
As a father, Mannah says visits to the Ronald McDonald House Westmead and Children’s Hospital at Westmead hit a lot closer to home.
“When you are single without kids, it is obviously touching and tough to walk through the wards at the hospital and see a lot of the sick kids here, but when you have a baby of your own, you relate everything back to your family and you are really grateful for the healthy family you have but also realise how tough and strong families are that go through tough times,” Mannah said.
“Having a family of my own definitely hits home a lot more and I am very grateful that there are places like this and volunteers involved in this place that really help families that are going through tough times.”
Ronald McDonald House Westmead first opened its doors in 1995 and is one of 16 Houses around Australia that are operated to provide essential accommodation and support for families with seriously ill or injured children.
The new Westmead House will be open to the public on Saturday 17th February from 12pm-3pm for a Community Open Day, for more information visit: www.buildinglove.org.au/news