As you prepare dinner for the family tonight or kiss your kids’ goodbye as they rush out the door to school; imagine that life doesn’t go as you planned today.
Imagine that instead of working your way through your to-do list as most of us do every day, imagine you find yourself dropping everything and rushing to a hospital 160 km away as your 11-year-old daughter’s kidneys start to fail.
Imagine you must drive over two hours as your precious child’s life hangs in the balance. You had no way of ever knowing you’d need to prepare for this on a day that started like any other.
Because, as you imagine what – for most of us – would be our worst nightmare, this is the reality for devoted mum, Leigh, who, yesterday, found herself in this exact situation.
Leigh and her family live in Rutherford, NSW, but their local hospital isn’t equipped to meet the complex needs of 11-year-old Lucy’s severe kidney condition.
As Leigh’s day unfolded, it transpired that Lucy needed critical treatment as her kidneys started to fail and she needed immediate transfer to Westmead Children’s Hospital 160 km away from their home.
There was no time to prepare.
There was no time to save money and book accommodation for the rest of the family to stay close by.
There was no time for schedules, logistics, and packing of suitcases.
As Lucy’s severe condition worsened by the minute, there was no time to do anything apart from get on the road and get to the critical medical care she needed as fast as humanly possible.
When we received the referral for this family from a social worker at Westmead Children’s Hospital yesterday, Leigh didn’t know how long they would be in hospital for OR what the prognosis for Lucy was.
Everything was uncertain.
While the hospital could provide accommodation for Leigh to stay by Lucy’s side, her dad and sister had to make alternative arrangements.
Lucy requires round the clock medical attention and, at this stage, she needs her whole family close by.
Thankfully, we were in a position where we could say YES to Lucy’s family and we can guarantee this family in need a room 300 metres away from the hospital at 175 (formerly Wesley Lodge), for seven nights so the four of them can stay near to each other.
What this means is that Lucy will have the support of her whole family while she goes through her grueling treatment.
It means that Leigh can draw on the strength from her husband who may otherwise have had to stay in Rutherford, a two-hour drive from the hospital. It means that Lucy’s sister is with the rest of her family and isn’t being passed from friend to relative to care for her.
It means that this whole family can face this terrible situation together.
Heartfelt Homes utilises existing hotel and motel facilities and pays for rooms for family members of patients receiving hospital treatment far away from home. As an organisation that is funded purely by donations, we’re incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who helped us to say YES to this special family in their time of need yesterday.
Their room at 175 is currently booked for seven nights so they can all focus on being together and being there for Lucy, but we don’t know how long this family will need our support for.
Currently, they’re facing dialysis for Lucy, but they’re hoping this young girls’ kidneys will last until a match is found for a more permanent solution – a transplant.
Everything about this family’s situation is unknown at the moment. Mum and dad are being tested to see if they’re a match to donate their kidney and save their daughter’s life. They don’t yet know if they’re facing major surgery, as well as Lucy.
Understandably, the whole family is in turmoil.
So, once again, I ask you to imagine.
Imagine the stress, grief, and emotional upheaval they’re all going through in addition to the fact they’re over two hours away from home without any of their support network around them.
They will potentially need accommodation for longer than seven days, but nothing is certain. Please, can you help us say YES to support them for as long as they need by donating to Heartfelt Homes today?
While you’re imagining the turmoil that Leigh and her family is in right now, it might surprise you to know that we get requests for help like this every single day.
And sometimes, we have to say no.
We support families all over Australia from all walks of life.
In the last month alone, we’ve helped families stay close to loved ones who have reached the end of life.
We’ve helped families whose children have suffered severe injuries while playing sport and are on their first ever trip to hospital.
And we’ve helped families whose children have been battling illness for much of their short lives and are used to the constant stream of appointments and treatments.
We’ve also helped families whose grown-up children have been in motor accidents in another state because, as you might know, no matter how old, kids still need their parents and parents still need their kids in times of crisis.
And that’s just in the last month.
If you or your family members ever require planned or emergency hospital treatment far away from home and hotel prices to be near your loved ones seem out of reach, Heartfelt Homes can help.
We want to say YES to every single family, every single time, but we can only do this with generous support from donors.
Thankfully, we can keep Leigh with her family for the next seven nights while they’re going through this traumatic experience 160 km away from their home, friends, and extended family. After that, we can’t make any guarantees, even though we know how much they need each other during this devastating time.
And we can never guarantee that we can say yes to anyone, whatever their need.
But, with your help, we can move one step closer. Together, we can make a difference.
Please, will you donate to Heartfelt Homes today to help us provide as much accommodation for Leigh and her family as they need during this life-changing, traumatic experience?
Your donation today will help us say yes to one more family who will otherwise be forced to separate during medical crisis.
Your support will make a big difference to more families like Lucy’s. More families just like yours and mine.
Please CLICK HERE to donate to Heartfelt Homes today and help us keep more families facing medical crisis together at a time they need each other the most.
“As you can imagine, being 2.5 hours away from family and friends…it’s a real struggle.” Lucy’s mum, Leigh.