About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand is an independent charitable trust that helps families of seriously ill children. Their mission is to create, develop, and support programmes that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their family/whānau.

RMHC NZ programmes include a 26-bedroom house in Christchurch and a 4-bedroom Family Room at Southland Hospital.

RMHC NZ is thrilled to be supported by Ray White Invercargill through the Ray White Home & Garden Invercargill Tour 2024. Which sees all proceeds go to support Southland families during their time at Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital. This includes providing free accommodation, necessities, relief, and support so they can focus on what matters most – their child.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital

The Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital is an extension of the hospital, directly connected to the Children’s and Neo-Natal wards. When families walk in, they forget they’re in a hospital – this is a place to rest and regroup just moments away from their child.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital consists of four overnight bedrooms which are provided to families on a greatest-need basis, with each family’s situation taken into consideration. Any family who has a child up to and including the age of 18 who has been admitted to the Children’s or Neo-Natal wards can use the Family Room’s communal facilities.

In 2022, the Ronald McDonald Family Room, Southland Hospital had 82 families stay for an average of 10 nights. RMHC NZ is thrilled to be supported by Ray White Invercargill through the Ray White Home & Garden Invercargill Tour 2024.

* Family photograph by Alicia Keown Photography https://www.facebook.com/Aliciakeownphotography/

McSeveny Family Story

Chloe and Campbell McSeveny made the big move to Southland in 2017, leaving behind their home region of Taranaki. They began sharemilking in Wendon, Southland, and got married in 2019. Their lives were forever changed with the arrival of their beautiful first child, Arlo.

Not long after in 2022, life took an unexpected surprise when they were blessed with triplets – Oak, Eden and August. Born prematurely at only 27 weeks and 4 days, their little fighters faced a long and challenging road ahead.

The fragile triplets spent six and a half weeks in Wellington Hospital and then transferred to the Invercargill Neonates unit as they needed specialized care. It was here that they relied heavily on the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) New Zealand.

Within the walls of the Invercargill Family Room, they created a sanctuary, their own home-away-from-home, which was crucial for them because they needed to be close to their babies. Their own home was one and a half hours away, which is logistically challenging. The family room provided them with comfort, nourishment from donated food, and the support of other parents going through similar situations.

Being right next to their babies and being able to take pumped milk straight to the boys whenever they needed relieved a lot of pressure. Having the luxury of being able to head back for a quick hot drink, to freshen up, or to fill their bodies with healthy food in a time when those things are quickly forgotten was invaluable.

The facilities at RMHC were exceptional. The spacious five-star rooms, with hot showers, fresh linen, and clean facilities made their stay more comfortable, and the donated freezer food and other necessities were an extreme help in an overwhelming time. Having more hands around during this time alleviated so much pressure off the McSevenys and also allowed Campbell to continue working on the farm, which allowed other family members to be there for Chloe and the babies.

Without RMHC, their experience would have been drastically different. Staying in a motel far from their babies would have been an emotional challenge. Along with that, the financial burden of spending 97 days in the hospital would have added so much strain to their already growing difficulties. The collaboration between the Invercargill Neonates Team and RMHC made their journey smoother, allowing them to focus on the triplets’ well-being.

Overall, the support and resources that were provided by the family room made a significant impact on the McSeveny family. The opportunity to be able to stay close to their babies and receive support from dedicated staff and volunteers, they will forever be grateful for. Their journey from sharemilking to premature parenthood is a testament to the power of love, resilience, and unwavering support from family and generous donors around Aotearoa.

Through the highs and lows, they discovered depths of strength they never knew they possessed and were able to do what matters most in times of struggle – keep their family close.

*Family photographs taken by – Emily Kerse Photography www.emilykersephotography.com