A win today with RMHC New Zealand and the ASB Classic
During the Kiwi Christmas holiday, many families watch the ASB Classic or head to a beach house – enjoying the sunshine, relaxing and spending time together. For around 600 families though, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) New Zealand becomes their ‘home-away-from-home’ while their child is in a hospital over the festive season.
The Kupa family from Reporoa is one of many who have stayed with RMHC New Zealand around Christmas time when their child is in a hospital away from home.
About two years ago, their son Caleb (now six), was having tests for ongoing stomach pain. During an ultrasound scan, an unknown mass was found in his abdomen.
The family rushed to Auckland, where Caleb was admitted into hospital while the family stayed just a few minutes’ walk away at Ronald McDonald House. After further scans and tests, Caleb was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. He faced 16 months of intensive treatment, including two stem cell transplants.
Ronald McDonald House was the family’s safe haven throughout Caleb’s treatment. “The staff were always there for a hug, you didn’t have to say a word, just a comforting hug,” says mum Rachael.
Staying at Ronald McDonald House meant that the family could be together as much as possible. Dad Scott would drive up from Reporoa after work on a Friday with Caleb’s little brother Izak. Rachael says, “being able to have Scott and Izak there was my sanity”.
When he could, Caleb joined his family in one of the Ronald McDonald House apartments equipped to accommodate children after transplants. “Having the apartment was just amazing. We’re so thankful. We could just lock ourselves away, be in isolation and not have to worry about bugs,” remembers Rachael.
Rachael also loved the community feel, with Caleb joining in when well enough. “We met some amazing families. We would leave our room door open and the children would come and go and play. It was a sense of normality for them,” says Rachael. “Izak would be cheeky with the staff, he’d get them to chase him. Caleb and Izak could be themselves. It felt like home”.
Rachael fondly remembers the special effort staff put into Christmas. She recalls the annual Christmas party, which Caleb could be part of and really enjoyed. “He loved his sack of presents and was so excited to meet Santa!”
The family thought they would be spending Christmas Day at Ronald McDonald House but were lucky enough to head home the day before. “It was pretty amazing that we were able to make it home for Christmas, but the Christmas party was awesome.”
The Kupas continue to stay at Ronald McDonald House when Caleb requires treatment or check-ups in Auckland. Rachael is thankful for RMHC New Zealand’s support throughout their journey. “Staying at the House has opened up a different world. It’s amazing how much people give, the generosity is truly overwhelming”.
Today, you can help families like the Kupas by buying specially tagged tennis balls to take part in Lobbo. Throw your tennis balls into the barrels on centre court for a chance to win a luxury BMW car for the weekend, a pro Wilson tennis racquet or an adrenaline racing Sky Walk and Sky Jump at the Sky Tower courtesy of AJ Hackett Bungy.
It’s just $20 for 10 balls, $10 for 3 balls. All money raised supports families staying with RMHC New Zealand.
Visit the RMHC marquee or find a friendly volunteer to purchase your Lobbo balls today.