Travelling to Auckland on a school trip, a group of our Manawatu Campus students took the opportunity to cook roast dinner for families in Ronald McDonald House at Auckland Hospital.
The initiative was to support the work of the facility, and all it does for families with sick children.
Westmount School parents Nathan and Cilla Barnes say their family has visited Ronald McDonald House around 15 times over the last four years with their daughter Molly, who was born with a rare condition affecting her swallowing and breathing. Molly breathes with the support of a tracheostomy tube and feeds through a tube into her stomach. She needs regular specialist care provided through Starship.
Cilla says preparing a meal for families staying in RMH is a way of giving back to the RMH community which has supported their family through difficult times. “We have been grateful recipients of meals when we’ve stayed at RMH over the years. I have always wanted to do it in return. We would love to do more for them – the services they provide are so important for families.”
With the support of Westmount School, the Barnes family took the opportunity of students being in Auckland who were participating in an educational workshop during the day. “It was just great timing as Molly was having a medical procedure at the same time as the students needed to be in Auckland.”
On the menu was Roast Lamb, a vegetarian option, vegetables, salads, breads, and dessert of fudge cake with cream and raspberry sauce. Cilla says the feedback was awesome, and the RMH staff were impressed with the students, their organisation, and thoughtful gestures.
"They arranged different quotes of bravery, courage and persistence to be tied around the wrapped cutlery. One lady collected them all up and put them on a string for her daughter's hospital room. Another lady told the students it was the best meal she had ever tasted!"
As well as access to the specialist care that Molly needs, the Barnes family has made connections with other families on similar journeys. “Molly’s first four years have involved many medical procedures in Starship, but she still loves coming to RMH. The staff are incredible, and we meet kids who put the battles into perspective.”
Molly’s family would like to encourage people to support upcoming RMH events, including its National Street Appeal on 10 June.