The O'Loughlin Family

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“On the 2nd of February 2017, we welcomed our 3rd child in Wexford General Hospital. However, 24 hours later Darragh began to show signs that he was not coping well. He was transferred to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin via ambulance and was admitted to the Children’s Heart Centre. Over the next few hours, a cardiologist came to explain that our son had a complex heart defect. At 2 days old, he had his first investigative cath lab procedure and was scheduled for open heart surgery at 6 days old. This surgery was an interim surgery to give him some support to allow him to get bigger and stronger before he needed his repair surgery. We got a room in The Ronald McDonald House. It is difficult to put into words what a difference this made for us.

We had two children at home, who could only come up for day visits prior to this, and although they wanted to come to visit, a hospital is not a place for healthy, active children. A room in the House meant that we could all stay together, sit down to a meal together, play in the playroom and visit the hospital. Our children called it the ‘Holiday House’, they loved to come to visit. It was a place, we could sit with our parents, family or friends who visited and drink a cup of tea, it was a place to come at the end of a long, stressful day in the hospital and sit down and unwind and try to feel ‘normal’, a friendly chat, a quiet moment, a place to enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal, a place to get a good night’s sleep to get up next day and go through the same, long hospital day. We went on to spend a further 7 weeks in ICU recovering surgery, extending our admission to 19 weeks. We have had 2 more admissions in Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin and both times have been lucky to get a room here. I could not have imagined spending all this time in hospital without our room at The Ronald McDonald House. We continue to support RMHC anytime we can through fundraising efforts. We have returned as a family to cook for current families staying there and have donated monies raised from a coffee morning our family organised. Thank you for your amazing work and I cannot express the difference it has made to our family.”

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