An Update on Thom's 1000 Miles
As many of you know, 12 year old Thom has been taking on 1000 miles this year for our home from home.
Thom is now up to 653 miles walked and is well on target to complete his 1,000 miles by the end of 2020!
Throughout this challenge he has taken on walks all over including short circuits around his garden, walking to school and large hikes. He's also been very keen to take on mini challenges along the way, taking part in many of the Country Walking Magazine's mini competitions including photo challenges, baking challenges and walking 1 mile barefoot!
Thom has already completely smashed his original target of raising £1,000, having raised an amazing £1,442 so far! This is enough for an amazing 41 nights of free accommodation and support for families in need.
"Last year, a few days after my 11th birthday, I fell and broke my collarbone. It hurt. A lot! When I went to the hospital I saw lots of scared children, and some I was told, had come from quite far away and would have to stay there overnight. I live in Bristol so I went home after my visit but lots of families have nowhere to stay when their children are in the hospital and that's why the Ronald McDonald House Bristol is so amazing.
The RMH Bristol can let families with children in critical care at the Bristol Hospital for Children, stay with them, for free, for as long as they need. I think they are amazing and because I got to go home with my family after my accident, I want to help them help more families who can't always go home straight away."
We are so grateful to Thom for his incredible determination, hard work and support, and just love keeping up to date with his walks and challenges.
To find out more about his journey click here.
An Update on Oscar's 10 for 10
Charlotte and Karl, alongside their friends and family, have been working hard this year to commemorate what would have been Oscar's 10th birthday.
Charlotte and Karl have raised a staggering £13,830!! This is enough to cover an incredible 395 nights of free accommodation and support in our home from home.
"Our room at the Ronald McDonald House really helped to take away the added stress of travelling to and from Swindon to Bristol, especially knowing that we were only a 2 minute walk away should the hospital call us. It also gave us a place to have some time when things got very emotional.
Until being in a situation like we were in you really do not realise how invaluable places like the Ronald McDonald House are."
To find out more about their journey click here.
Susie's taking on the London Marathon
This is Susie! Some of you may remember her from running the Bristol 10K and Bristol Half Marathon last year for our home from home. Well this year she's decided to take on the London Marathon from home in just 4 weeks time!
"Covid-19 has had a really bad impact on all charities and one close to my heart is RMHB as I have seen first hand the wonderful work they do for families whose kids are receiving care at the BRHC."
Find out more and support Susie with her challenge by following the link 👉 https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SusieBannon
The Gasson Family's 22 Mile Walk
Back in August the Gasson family (including Mum, Dad, 2 Grandmas, 4 children and dog Ronald), took on the challenge of a 22 mile walk for our home from home.
They chose to take on this challenge following their stay in our house back in 2018 when their eldest son woke up one day unable to walk.
"It was such a blessing to us at a really difficult and uncertain time and I remember feeling relief and peace when we got our room. It was the consistency we needed, home comforts and precious memories. We will forever be thankful of the support they gave us during this time and the difference it made and want to be able to support them to do the same for other families who find themselves in this difficult situation too!"
After lots of tests, he was diagnosed with AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis) a very rare polio like virus. Although he is doing brilliantly, he still struggled to walk/run for long periods of time but was determined to complete this challenge!
"He really inspires me, he never lets anything hold him back, he gets on with it and has such a good attitude that he keeps up with everyone else his age." Mum
He is one inspirational 5 year old!
Although it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, they did it! We are so grateful to them all for their determination and support.
"We did it!!! 22 miles complete, it was very hard given the heat but worth every mile for all the money still coming in for your wonderful charity!"
The family raised an amazing £1,500 for our home from home, providing 43 nights of free accommodation and support.
Introducing Challenge 35 & 300!
It's not too late to take on a 2020 fundraising challenge! Take on one of our new virtual challenges to get fundraising from home.
What could you do to raise £35?
Whether you try something new 35 times or for 35 days, raise just £35 to support a family in need with a night of free accommodation.
Did you know our referral radius is 300 miles?
Think you could complete 300 miles or 300km by the end of 2020? Whether you run, walk, swim or cycle, help us to support families in need with this challenge.
Email email@example.com now to start discussing your next challenge!
Skydives are back in 2021
Could you jump out of a plane at 15,000ft?
We're excited to announce two new dates for skydives in 2021!
Tick this incredible experience off your bucket list and sign up for one of our 15,000ft tandem skydives with Skydive Buzz.
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Saturday 4th September 2021
Skydive Buzz, Dunkeswell Airfield, Honiton, Devon.
If you can raise over £395, you can jump for free!
For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the link below to book now!
The Hutt Family share their story.
"Our daughter was born with a serious congenital heart defect in 1987. Even though she was so poorly, she actually managed to go with out needing any surgery until she was 10 years old, despite us being told that she would need a heart / lung transplant and probably wouldn't live to a year old. She had bits and pieces in her heart that shouldn't be there, that could fail at any time, but they were keeping her alive. She was, and still is, a proper little miracle. She had four operations over a few years, and to begin with we had to stay in a bed and breakfast up the road from the hospital, when we could afford it. A lot of the time, my husband had to sleep in the car and the hospital very kindly let me sleep next to Lauren. On our last visit we stayed at Ronald McDonald, and even though that was many years ago, I can still remember that feeling of calm that washed over me when I walked through your doors. I'll never forget it.
Lauren's last operation was in 2004, where she had a 9 hour operation, and they said she'd need the valve that they fitted, replaced in approx 12 years. It's only now starting to fail, so she's due more surgery this year, at the age of almost 33. She's done pretty well!
Lauren was warned against having a baby, due to obvious health risks, so her older sister acted as a surrogate, so now Lauren and her husband Michael, have a beautiful 18 month old little girl, Rae.
We did some fundraising five years ago and we sponsored the Westbury room and we sponsored the Dartmoor room about 12 years ago, by doing a parachute jump.
What you all do at RMH is pretty amazing. Well done!"
Prudential My Ride London
15th/16th August 2020
Been out on the bike a lot during lock down? Why not get involved and take on your own Ride whether that's 100 miles, 46 miles, 19 miles or a freestyle distance of your own! This is a great challenge whether you're a keen cyclist or looking to try something with the whole family. Take on your own ride no matter where you are and help to support our home from home during this difficult time.
Start your fundraising page by clicking here.
Oscar's 10 for 10 July Challenge
Karl and his friends and family have been taking on the incredible challenge of 496km in 31 days!
Karl has shared a little below about why he is taking on this challenge:
"Since losing Oscar in 2010 we've always wanted to do all we can to help others, as well as honour his name. The Ronald McDonald House in Bristol gave us every opportunity to stay by Oscar's side and we truly couldn't have got through that period without the support and space they provided.
Oscar would have been 10 years old this year so we committed to doing 10 events over 10 months to raise £10,000. Corona Virus tried to stop us but we've stayed positive and creative and with the help of friends and family we have kept pushing forwards with ways to keep the donations coming in."
Thom's Still Going Strong!
This month Thom passed the 500 mile mark in his 1,000 mile challenge!
Andrew Took on the Channel!
After 2 years of training Andrew finally got to take on the channel this month.
Andrew gave an absolutely valiant effort over the 16th/17th July, swimming for an incredible 15 hours 34 minutes overnight across the English Channel! Although his swim was sadly called for safety reasons before he made it to the end, this doesn't diminish his achievement in our eyes. We are all so impressed by his determination and strength and simply cannot thank him enough for everything. Andrew took on this challenge for our house, Care For Kids North Devon, Kidney Research UK and The Wave Project, for the support given to his family and particularly his grand-daughter Rosie.
Andrew is so close to his amazing £8,000 target! Read more about his story and help him reach his target by clicking here.
Your Lockdown Fundraising
Emma, Nathan and Jon all braved the shave!
The Bristol Junior Lawyers Division took on their own 5 day challenges.
DePuy Synthes of Johnson and Johnson took on a My25 Challenge to get active.
Bee took on her own 2.6 challenge trying out 26 different dances.
Elizabeth has been creating face masks and donating the proceeds to our house.
Gemma has also been busy creating incredible designs in aid of our home from home, see below.
All together they raised enough to cover an incredible 84 nights of free accommodation and support for a family in our home from home!
As well as this, lots of you have been donating much needed items and funds to our house.
Huge thanks to all of you for your incredible support, we are so grateful to each and every one of you.
Throughout the pandemic our house has remained open, supporting our existing families whilst we temporarily ceased our intake of new families. We reopened our doors recently, welcoming a limited number of families to best ensure social distancing and the safety of all our families. Follow the link below for our most recent statement on the measures in place to ensure our families safety.
At Home Fundraising
Are you wondering how you can continue to support our families in need without leaving home?
Be a fundraising hero and take part in the 2.6 challenge to support our home from home. Whether you run for 2.6miles, try a hobby 26 times or get 26 people involved (following social distancing guidelines), this challenge is a great way to try something new and help support our house and families.
Looking for ideas? Check out our home fundraising pack for great ways to fundraise at home and virtually. Whether you are going to take on your own at home challenge, learn a new skill or get creative, there are plenty of ways you can keep your body and mind active whilst helping to raise vital funds for our home from home.
The RMHB Emergency Appeal
Thank you so much to all our amazing supporters for your help and support. Without you we wouldn't be where we are today and we know we can get through this difficult time together.
Huge thanks to our Bath Half fundraisers.
Although it wasn't possible for all our runners to take on the race in Bath, we are so grateful to all our fundraisers for their hard work training and fundraising and would like to thank them no matter whether they ran in Bath, took on their own local run or postponed.
So far our wonderful team of runners have raised enough to support an amazing 21 families for 1 night of free accommodation and support! That's enough for 1 family in each of our 21 bedrooms.
Mary shares her family story.
"I recently stayed two nights with my niece while her 7 year old was in PICU, thankfully our stay was short as the wonderful medical team managed to stabilise Aaron so he could be transferred back to Yeovil hospital, reuniting them with the rest of the family.
To say I was impressed with RMH would be a massive understatement, I was absolutely blown away by the amount of care and thought which makes this place a safe and welcoming refuge for families who need it so very much.
The room we stayed in was spotlessly clean, comfortably equipped and welcoming. The communal areas were superb with everything a family needs to make what must sometimes be lengthy stays bearable. The kitchen/dining area was immensely well provided for and I was impressed with the thoughtful separation of the area into individual kitchens. I was pleased to see breast milk storage facilities too. The laundry was fully equipped and there was ample play space for children in a lovely, comfortable lounge area. The gardens were well laid out with plenty of space for children to run around, lots of seating for families and even some tucked away in quieter nooks for those who need a more private oasis for a while.
The whole set up felt like something done by people who care and understand the trauma families are going through, right down to the provision of toiletries and food for those whose visit was so unexpected they had no time to sort these things out. My thanks and heartfelt gratitude go to everyone involved with RMH, you really do make a difference."
Huge thanks to Mary for sharing her story and mum Kirsty for sharing this photo. We are very pleased to say Aaron is now home with his family and doing well.
Congratulations to our Swimarathon swimmers!
Last Sunday we had two amazing teams of swimmers take on the Clifton Rotary Swimarathon to see how many lengths they could swim in 1 hour. Between them they managed to swim over 500 lengths which is absolutely incredible!
We are so grateful to them and all who sponsored them to take on this challenge. They have raised enough to ensure a family has the accommodation and support that they need and deserve for a whole week which is just fantastic!
Once again huge thanks to the Smarties and Hengrove Team for taking on this challenge for our home from home.
The Swimarathon is an event we take part in every year. If you are interested in getting involved next year email email@example.com.
Janine shares her reasons for taking on the Bath Half.
The reason I chose to support Ronald McDonald House Bristol is back in 2016 my 3 month old daughter had a heart attack at home and we were rushed to Bristol hospital where she went under emergency open heart surgery. We lived 2 and half hours away and literally left with no clothes other than what we were wearing. In complete shock, we obviously hadn't planned on what was happening next, we ended up staying 4 months in intensive care.
Thanks to Ronald McDonald House Bristol offering us a room to stay, we could rest, shower and grab food which was vital to looking after ourselves, physically and mentally whilst caring for our sick daughter. I don't know what we would have done without that room to sleep in, and I can't thank them enough. I would love to raise money to help more families going through a similar experience as I know the stress and strain of finding somewhere to call home whilst going through such a bad time can make things worse.
The Mills family share their story.
When our son was 5 months old he was admitted to GRH with bronchiolitis… a week later he was diagnosed with 2 heart conditions and admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital. To be honest I hadn’t really thought what would happen to family members when that happens when you aren’t just down the road. I stayed in with our son but that left our eldest who was then 4 and my husband far away from me. Then they were incredibly lucky and were given a room in Ronald McDonald House Bristol. 3 weeks they used the room until our son was discharged. It meant that my husband would get up and travel back to Brockworth to drop him at my mums and then he'd be taken to school, leaving my husband free to come and sit with me in hospital. Then someone would bring him back after school, he would play in the playroom or hospital room and then go for something to eat and then bed in the ‘hotel’ as he called it. It was an incredibly stressful time and having them close by made all the difference to us all.
We were so touched that on Good Friday they discovered Easter Eggs outside their room! It was then I decided that I would support the house however I could. Since then I have organised many fundraising events, Easter Eggs collection, items for the house and Christmas presents. Furthermore, my mum did a skydive this year for her 70th birthday.
I was very privileged to have been asked to be a volunteer community ambassador over 2 years ago. I know so many people who the house has supported and cannot explain enough just how amazing it is on so many levels with such amazing staff who work so hard. Thanks you so much.
The RMHB Kitchen Get's a New Look
With thanks to Co-op Members and our partnership with the High Kingsdown and Collage Green Stores for 2019-20, we have been able to begin some much needed renovations on our kitchen!
Our first job was installing new counter tops to refresh the space and provide a safer and more hygienic space. We also plan to replace the flooring throughout the main kitchen areas soon to continue the transformation.
The kitchen is a key room in our house, providing a space for families to share a home cooked meal together. We hope these improvements will help to keep this space working well for our families for another 17 years or more.
Introducing our New Charity of the Year Partner: The Bristol Junior Lawyers Division
We are delighted to announce that we have been chosen as the Bristol JLD's Charity of the Year!
We look forward to meeting with them soon to discuss their plans for the year and the ways they can get involved around the house. We are over the moon and can't thank the committee and members enough for their support of our home from home.
The Bristol JLD are a group of trainee solicitors, paralegals, students, and recently qualified solicitors in the Bristol regional area. To find out more about the Bristol JLD head to their website.
RMHB Christmas Meal
Christmas came early to RMHB
On Wednesday we had our annual Christmas Meal for the families. Our wonderful volunteers and staff spent the day in the kitchen preparing and we were pleased to be joined by some of our families and trustees. It was so nice to get to catch up with some of our families and provide them with an evening of fun and relaxation, even if just for a moment.
Huge thanks to Karma for raising the much needed funds for our meal as well as to Aldi for their kind donation of turkeys and Crescent China Hire for supplying the additional crockery.
Our 3 course meal was lovingly prepared by volunteers and staff and we would like to say a special thank you to Karma, Kie, Junior and Lizzie for their help in the kitchen.
We also had a special visit from Rybrook McClaren who came to drop off their very generous donation of a new children's ride-on McClaren! As you can imagine this was an instant hit with the children in the house and we would like to say a huge thank you to Rybrook McClaren for their generosity.
Christmas at RMHB
This Christmas we've been busy as always.
With thanks to all of you, we have raised an amazing £1,624.51 through our Christmas events in addition to your donations and gifts for our house and families. We have been completely blow away by your support and would like to say a huge thank you for helping us to help families in need this Christmas.
Huge thanks to all who sold and bought raffle prizes and also to all our prize donors. This year's raffle raised an amazing £596 for our home from home! This is equal to 17 nights in our home from home.
This year we were once again joined by some fabulous choirs, many of them returning year upon year.
We'd like to say a huge thanks to our choirs from Ilminster, St Michael's on the Mount, St George's, Redland Green, St Brendan's and Birdwell schools as well as our adult choirs Men of Chew, The Singaholics, Better Than Chocolate, The Bristol Choir Brigade, The Bristol Suspensions and The All Sharps.
You were all amazing!
We'd also like to thank our lovely volunteers Marcia, Brenda, Barry, Steph, Mike, Graham and the Gasson Family. Together we raised a phenomenal £642.51 for our home from home! This is equal to 18 nights for a family in need.
We'd like to say a huge thank you again to all who entered and to our winners Helen and Renee for their fabulous designs. We'd also like to thank all who have bought our RMHB Christmas Cards and helped to raise an amazing £386 which is 11 nights of accommodation and support.
This year our families will have Christmas gifts waiting for them on Christmas Eve thanks to the Giving Tree's, the friends and family of Marianne, Nicola and Karen. We are so grateful to you all for your continued support of the house and for helping us to spread a little Christmas cheer in the house.
We would also like to thank Rebecca, Becky, Sharon, Sian and 02, Adam, Helen and Harriet's Hospital Hampers, the friends and family of Marianne, the family and friends of Jenni, and Karen for their kind donations of items for the house and treats for the families.
We don't know where we would be without you our wonderful supporters. Thank you so much for your generosity and support!
Nicola shares her family's story.
“We were at Bristol children's hospital for 9 weeks from October to December with our son. We got discharged on the Sunday and by the Tuesday we had been sent back to the hospital and our son needed another operation. We were in pieces that was his 4th operation in 3 months. We had nowhere to stay and nothing really with us as we had rushed up from Cornwall and hadn't packed anything.
RMH were amazing.
They sorted us a room out and had toiletries and extra food that people had donated. They also left presents and a gorgeous food hamper outside our room on Christmas eve. It wasn't the first Christmas that we had planned as a family but they made us feel welcome and had decorated the house to make it as special as it could be. We will be forever grateful to them.”
Nicola, RMHB Mum
RMHB Get's Festive!
Huge thanks to these 3 ladies from Lloyds Bank for their help around the house
In the first week of December the RMHB house got a festive makeover courtesy of Caroline, Maria and Sharon from Lloyds Bank. The ladies worked hard to get the house ready for Christmas and we have already had lovely comments from our families about what a difference it makes. They also worked their magic sweeping up leaves in our bungalow garden area and completely transformed the space!
Thank you so much ladies for all your help, we look forward to seeing you again in the new year.
Huge thanks to our Birthday Bakers!
Providing an amazing 40 nights in our home from home
On Saturday 2nd November you helped us commemorate our 17th anniversary with a whole lot of cake!
Huge thanks to all who took part in our Birthday Bake, raising an amazing £1,390! This is equal to 40 nights of free accommodation and support for a family in need in our home from home.
We loved seeing your celebrations and were amazed by your fantastic creations! Thank you to all who baked, organised and went along to bake sales, coffee mornings and bake offs, we are so very grateful for your support.
Huge thanks to all who attended our Race Night!
Providing an incredible 206 nights in our home from home
On Saturday 9th November we held our first Night at the Races at the Bristol Marriott City Centre Hotel.
Huge thanks to all who attended our Race Night, raising an amazing £7,205! This is equal to 206 nights of free accommodation and support for a family in need in our home from home.
We would also like to say a special thank you to our Race Sponsors for their support as well as our amazing auction and raffle donors for their generosity.
Incito Group Holdings
Ariel Motor Company, Feld Entertainment, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool Marriott Hotel, The Hughes Family, Skydive Buzz, 02 Academy Bristol, Radisson Blu Hotel and Lincoln Mardell
Chepstow Racing & Events, Black Iris Images, Cardiff Castle, Castle Combe Circuit, Delta Force Paintballing, The Candyland Company, Loop Massage, Yoga Bristol and Hypnos.
The Short Family Share Their Story
Shortly after the birth or our twins (Digby and Florence) Florence started to have episodes of apneas and battled with silent reflux. Soon she was taken into our local hospital Derriford (Plymouth) and within a few weeks they decided to send her to The Bristol Children's hospital for more testing as her condition did not improve and her weight began to plummet.
Although only in Bristol briefly it was a very stressful and unstable time for our family and it is thanks to the McDonald house that my partner was able to be up there with her. We were touched with how accommodating and supportive the charity was in our time of need especially when me, her eldest brother Buddy and twin Digby came up to stay too, and we know the charity would have continued to be supportive had we been there for more of a long term stay.
Enabling people to stay as a family unit in a time where one can be torn apart is so crucial and as such we will forever be grateful.
Since our stay we have spread the word of the charities cause and we are happy to say that Florence is now doing great and her problems were put down to her prematurity.
Thank you again McDonald House. We are donating £200 but this is a mere touch of your worth.
Rosie (Mum) Scott (Dad) Buddy (Brother) Digby and Florence (the twins)
Congratulations to our Abseilers!
Providing an incredible 106 nights in our home from home
On Friday 4th October, despite the wet and windy weather our brave abseiler made their way down a 150ft cliff at Uphill Quarry!
Our amazing abseilers worked hard and raised just over £3,720! This is equal to 106 nights of free accommodation and support for a family in need in our home from home.
We are so grateful to all of them for their bravery, determination and hard work fundraising as well as to all who donated and supported them with this challenge. We would also like to say a special thank you to Karma and Jenni who faced their fear of heights to help support other families like their's during their time in need.
The Eastwood Family Share Their Story
On 16th October 2018 our son Jamie was admitted to Bristol Children’s Hospital and he was seriously ill.
Straight away we were put on the waiting list for RMH Bristol and at that point I had no idea how much we needed that room to stay in!
Jamie spent 5 weeks in hospital and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis which is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and he was treated for this.
After a week of being in hospital where we had been taking it in turns to drive home to Exeter every day, we were offered a room at RMH Bristol. Wow!!! What an amazing place! No more driving up and down the M5, no more buying take away food and no more worrying about getting the washing done, RMH catered for everything. Not only that but the staff were amazing, friendly and supportive and we met lots of people all in the same situation as us and have made some good friends.
My dad was able to travel to Bristol and stay with us which gave me the flexibility to come home for a few days and spend some time with our 12 year old daughter Lauren, she had to go to school and therefore was staying with my mum whilst we were in Bristol. My mum also came to stay for a couple of nights so she could spend some time with Jamie.
I will never be able to thank RMH Bristol enough for the accommodation they provided, it was home from home. It kept our family together as much as possible and took away all the stress and financial worries.
Unfortunately the treatment for Jamie didn’t work and we had to return to Bristol for him to have surgery to remove his bowel, yet again RMH Bristol were able to accommodate us and my dad was able to come and stay again. Luckily this time we were only there for 6 days and were able to bring Jamie home to recover.
Thank you RMH Bristol for everything, you make life so much better when families are going through such a tough time. If I wasn’t for you guys I think there would have been many a night where one of us would have slept in the car! I will continue to try and raise money to help keep your home running.
Congratulations to our Bristol Half Marathon Runners!
Sunday 15th September saw the return of this iconic challenge to the streets of Bristol. We are so grateful to all our runners this year for all the hard work that went into training and fundraising, thank you for your support.
Runner Susie (pictured below) took on this challenge after taking on the Bristol 10K earlier this year and loving it!
Huge Thanks to Solvent Stevedores
Solvent Stevedores are our new corporate partner!
We are so excited to have them on board and can't wait to have them get involved with fundraising, volunteering and all things RMHB over the next year! We are also extremely grateful for the generous donation they have given to kick off our partnership.
Solent Stevedores is an award winning Stevedoring company providing a broad range of bulk and general cargo handling and storage services at the Port of Southampton, St Hellier in Jersey and Immingham and Silvertown in London.
Some important Safety updates for our home from home
A New Defibrillator
Thanks to funding from Blazin' Saddles, a group who cycled between all the Ronald McDonald Houses in England, we have recently been able to get a defibrillator for the house! We are so grateful to the team for taking on this challenge, we know St Michael's Hill was an unwelcomed sight as they rode up to the house but it was so great to meet them all and catch up over a cup of tea. We were delighted when they said they would like to provide funding for this piece of life saving equipment and are so happy to now have this installed with a little help from Coop College Green employee Wayne.
A New Gate
Talking of Wayne, he also very kindly made us a brand new gate to keep the steps to our lower garden safe and secure for the little ones that stay in the house. He made it completely out of re-cycled materials, made up mostly of an old palette and we think it looks great! Thank you so much Wayne for doing this for us and coming up to the house to install it on your day off. We are so grateful for all your hard work and the support you've shown the house.
Huge thanks to our August fundraisers
Eli celebrated his Christening with friends and family, and doesn't he look adorable in his christening outfit!
Parents Liam and Kayleigh held a raffle at Eli's christening and raised over £320! This is 9 nights for another family in need in our home from home.
Mum Kayleigh shared what RMHB means to them:
"Ronald McDonald house gave us a home in the most horrendous time of our lives a small amount of normality helped make things easier and we’re forever grateful xxx"
This brave team of 4 from the Incito Group braved the shave for RMHB!
Donations are still coming in but the team have already raised over £500 and counting! As well as braving the shave, one brave man braved a leg wax! The team are based in Gloucester McDonald's where they will continue to collect donations over the weekend. We are so grateful to all of them for their amazing support and bravery with this challenge.
Suzann also celebrated her 50th Birthday and very generously asked for donations in lieu of gifts which is just amazing. She has been an incredible supporter of the house over the years and we are so grateful for her continued support.
We also had yet more skydivers! Unfortunately one had to be rescheduled due to the weather but Richard jumped out of a plane for RMHB in the sunshine last weekend. Thank you so much Richard for taking on this incredible challenge, we are glad you enjoyed it even if you've said 'never again'!
Charlotte supported us with a daily raffle, raising an incredible £1,570! This covers 45 nights of accommodation and support in our home from home. We are so grateful to all who have participated so far and cannot thank Charlotte and friend Kama enough.
An update to our family bedrooms
Thanks to grant funding from The February Foundation and The Screwfix Foundation we have been able to update the flooring in 10 of our 21 family bedrooms as well as our bungalow kitchen. Our bedrooms have been refreshed with a new laminate flooring offering a more hygienic and durable floor that will hopefully last for another 17 years or more! We would also like to thank our volunteer teams from Mace and Lloyds Bank who helped uplift our old carpets. Additional maintenance tasks like these go above our annual costs but help to ensure our home from home will be here for many more families in the future. We really couldn't have done it without the help of these two foundations and are so very grateful for their support. We now have just 6 bedrooms left to update and we are determined to finish this project!
8,000 families and counting!
We have recently reached the incredible milestone of 8,000 families that have been accommodated and supported in our home from home since opening in 2002. Huge thanks to all of you for your help in making this possible and ensuring we can achieve our goal of keeping as many families as possible together during their time in need.
The Bradley family share their story
"we will never forget the kindness of all those at RMHB and those who support its amazing work"
Our 2 year old daughter Rosie was 3 days into what would become a 9 week stay at Bristol Children’s Hospital when we arrived at Ronald McDonald House in Bristol in June 2018.
We had spent the previous 2 nights, after her transfer from Exeter hospital by the Watch Team, sleeping in bunk beds two floors above Seahorse PICU where she was critically ill. For my husband Mike and I, it was reassuring to be so close in the hospital, but with our 6 year old son at home in Tiverton, Devon, to consider, getting the keys to Woodland at RMHB was a huge relief.
Knowing he would have somewhere to come and stay with us at the weekends, and with the school summer holidays approaching, and without any cost, meant we could make plans for how the rest of us might get through the coming weeks – even though we couldn’t plan for what might happen to Rosie. After 2 weeks on PICU she was transferred to the wonderful team on Penguin Ward who cared amazingly for her, and all our family.
I can clearly remember the genuine, warm, empathy of Denise at RMHB on the afternoon she showed me around the house and to our room. And in the coming weeks nothing was too much to ask of the team – from signing for deliveries for us, to loaning us a clothes horse and tracking down extra bedding for when all 3 of us were staying in the room. These little things meant we could concentrate on Rosie’s needs and those of our son, who may otherwise have been left traumatised by what had been happening to his sister.
Rosie had come to Bristol suffering severe septic shock after her stomach perforated, which is very rare and serious in a toddler. She continues to recover at home in Devon, but we will never forget the kindness of all those at RMHB and those who support its amazing work.
The Bradley Family stayed in 2018
Huge thanks to all who attended our annual Golf Day
Our 2019 Golf Day will provide an incredible 327 nights of accommodation and support for families in need.
The 4th July saw the return of our annual Golf Day to the Celtic Manor Resort where our 22 teams played the Mongomerie course in brilliant sunshine. Events like this keep our doors open and with your help we have raised just over £11,400 which equates to 327 nights of accommodation and support in our home from home!! Thank you so much to everyone that attended and helped to reach this amazing total.
We couldn't have done it without the help of a lot of wonderful people and businesses.
Huge thanks go to:
Headline Sponsors Harvey Shopfitters
Brunch Sponsors Uni-Clean Services
Cap Sponsors Dimensions
Hole Sponsors Adande, Dallmeier and Mark James Complete Building Services
Goody Bag Sponsors Coca-Cola, Martin Brower, Smith Anderson, Nestle, Pasquier and Brand Fusion
We would also like to say thank you to the amazing Golf Team at Celtic Manor for all their help in making this years Golf Day such a success.
Huge thanks to our July fundraisers
Hannah Jumped Out of a Plane!
Hannah and her family have stayed in the house a number of times since Rosie was born back in 2017. She has absolutely smashed her fundraising target of £500, so far having raised over £1,100! This equates to 32 nights for another family in need to stay in our home from home.
Sarah Jumped Off a Crane!
Sarah and her family stayed in the house back in 2012 and have been great supporters since. She has so far raised an amazing £775 which equates to 22 nights of free accommodation and support for another family in need.
John, Andy and Matt Climbed the 3 Peaks!
A huge thanks to all who attended RMHB Fest 2019
RMHB Fest 2019 will provide 100 nights of accommodation and support for families in need.
The 1st June saw the return of RMHB Fest to Old Down Country Park and we were yet again treated to some amazing sunshine for our family fun event. Events like this keep our doors open and with your help we have raised £3,500 which equates to 100 nights of accommodation and support in our home from home!! Thank you so much to everyone that attended and helped to reach this amazing total.
We couldn't have done it without the help of a lot of wonderful people and businesses.
Huge thanks go to:
Our headline sponsors Harvey Shopfitters
Brothers Cider for donating drinks for our bands
Factory Studios for donating a back line for our stage
King Sound for the amazing stage once again
Our fantastic security team from Mike Cross
Our incredible stage manager and sound engineer Jack
It wouldn't have been a festival without our bands and we were treated to some fantastic music from Bartie Joyce, The Hogranch, The Fab Twins, Ellie Moonshine and the Prohibition Band, Nightlarks, Eddie Mole and Jack Skuse. We also had some amazing stalls selling a range of goodies from home decor and jewellery to gifts and cakes, thank you so much to all of you for coming along.
Our thanks are not over just yet as we also have our amazing volunteers to thank! We had help from some fantastic people from McDonald's, The Co-Op, Lloyds Bank and our wonderful supporters both in the run up and at the event itself, with special thanks going to our ambassador Marianne and long term volunteer Lincoln. On the day, the festival was run by volunteers helping in our car park, on the gates, manning our own stalls, face painting, putting on activities, running the stage and assisting with finance. We also had great help in the run up too and would like to thank Alex who kindly volunteered himself and his van to help us get everything we needed to the festival. Without them we honestly could not have done it and we are so very grateful to each and every one of you for your incredible support!
Photos from RMHB Fest 2019 are now on our Facebook page. Please click here to check them out.
The Sumsion family share their story
"They provide a service you never want to need, they offer comfort and support, and reduce stress, for parents going through the worst times of their lives."
We knew from the twenty week scan that our daughter had a heart condition. The doctors and nurses at the hospital worked with us to prepare us for what would happen. We were warned that immediately after birth our daughter would be taken away from us and cared for in NICU (the regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s hospital, Bristol). Within a day we were transferred to the Children’s Hospital and to our relief they were able to provide a bed for one parent to stay with our new born baby. There were two of us, but we would make it work.
Within days our daughter went for keyhole surgery; the results weren’t good. The doctors had been unable to open the blockage in her pulmonary valve and needed to increase the dosage of the medicine which was keeping her alive. We were dejected, but the doctors told us it would be OK; they would just have to do open heart surgery rather than keyhole.
Then the news came. She needed more intensive care than the ward was unable to provide. She needed to be transferred to PICU (the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children). So we’d witnessed our daughter not breathing, and now she was moving to intensive care. Oh, and there are no beds for parents on PICU. They have a few beds in a room but they were full. We couldn’t stay.
We were now in turmoil. We would stay as long as we could by our daughter’s side. Going home simply wasn’t viable. If we went home and something happened it could take over an hour to get back in bad traffic. That’s without the trouble of finding a parking space. She could die in a minute, risking an hour just wasn’t an option. That was when we got some of the best news we could have hoped for (in the circumstances). Ronald McDonald House Bristol had a room for us. We’d been told that they might be an option; but we’d also been told that they have long waiting lists. We’d been put on the list as soon as we arrived at the hospital. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to get, or what would be provided, but we knew there would be a bed.
We walked up the hill from the hospital and were greeted by a friendly face. We needed to pay a deposit for the key. It was only £10, but we didn’t have it on us. It wasn’t a problem we could pay another day. It was only a deposit we would get it back when we left. We were shown around the house. There was a big kitchen with a cupboard for every family; there was a sitting room with a big TV, laundry facilities, a garden to sit outside, and then there was our room. Our room had two beds, a TV, free Wi-Fi, and ensuite facilities. It also had a phone. The phone was connected to the hospital exchange and we could use it to call the internal phone number at our daughter’s bedside. We could contact our daughter’s nurse at any time day or night and she could contact us. No concerns with batteries or signal on a mobile. No need to get out of bed. It sounds like a simple thing but it is the little things that made the difference.
The mood in the house was amazing. You were surrounded by people all in the same situation, all with seriously ill children. Inevitably some people will have good days and some will have bad. People were friendly and supportive, the good days averaged out with the bad, and everyone remained as positive as possible. You could smile or cry; no one judged.
As the weeks went by and the doctors worked to help our daughter we had comfort in knowing that we could go back to the house and rest; if something happened it was just a few minutes’ walk to the hospital, no worries about parking or traffic. We were able to experience some normality and we watched the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics in the sitting room. It was strangely normal. It was a home away from home.
The doctors were successful and managed to get our daughter well enough to come home. We left the home forever in their debt.
Our daughter has regular check-ups and we live with the knowledge that she will have to have repeat surgery throughout her life. We knew she would need surgery at some point in the future but we didn’t know when. In November 2016 the time arrived. Again we were in hospital knowing our daughter had an eight hour long operation to survive. The wait is the worst time you can ever imagine and once again we were faced with the prospect of our daughter lying in an intensive care ward and us not being nearby. We had requested to stay at the Ronald McDonald house again, but they were full. The hospital managed to find us a pull out bed in a room on a ward. We were warned that they might need the room in the night and if that was the case we might get thrown out in a hurry. We were lucky and slept through the night.
The next night we got the news that a room was available at Ronald McDonald House Bristol. We were delighted; it might sound silly, but it is a testament to the house that in a time so stressful something could cause delight. To us this meant we knew we could stay reassuringly close to the hospital, have a wash, and something to eat in a warm safe and comforting environment. This, our second stay, was a lot shorter than our first as our daughter made a rapid recovery from her surgery. Despite the shorter stay the impact of the house was the same.
Since leaving the house I’ve decided to help where I can. I spent the first few years donating money every time I visited McDonalds, mistakenly thinking I was giving them money to support the Bristol house. I’ve now found out that isn’t true. While the money in the collection boxes does go to support similar houses around the UK, the Bristol house is independent of this. The national charity RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) helped to setup the house when it opened, and gave the charity its name as one of many charities with the same aim worldwide, but now the charity must be self-sufficient.
Since then I’ve completed the Bristol 10K with a friend (it has to be said it was a walk more than a run) between us raising £600 for the house, but that is never enough. I work in IT, so I’m helping them out as a volunteer with some IT needs, and we helped by holding buckets during their Christmas carols at Cabot Circus. Alas this still is not enough. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay the house and its wonderful staff for what they did for us. Supporting us and giving us some stability in the most unstable of times. If you asked me to describe what they do and its impact in one sentence it would be this; They provide a service you never want to need, they offer comfort and support, and reduce stress, for parents going through the worst times of their lives.
The Sumsion Family stayed in 2012 & 2016
Thank you to our supporters!
Congratulation to our amazing 10k runners!
A huge thank you to all our jumpers!
Last week 28 brave supporters ranging in age from 16-70 took to the skies to help raise vital funds for our home away from home. The 15,000ft skydive saw them fall at an average of 125mph for 2 miles before taking in the stunning coast to coast views for their final mile.
They have so far raised over £7,600.00 with more still coming in! This is enough to accommodate and support 217 families for one night or one family for 7 months! Thank you so much to all who took part and all who donated, you are making a huge difference to families in need.
If you're interested in doing a Skydive for RMHB get in touch today! The next mass skydive will take place on Wednesday 20th May 2020. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Transforming the Gardens
This April we have been very lucky to have an amazing group of volunteers from the Co-Op come in to transform our gardens! Their enthusiasm and hard work was incredible and these photos speak for themselves!
In the main garden they updated our patio area with fresh paint to match the house, new planters and pots, as well as new stone pebbles, creating a much more inviting space. The lower garden area also had a complete renovation with a lot of weeding, some new plants and decoration as well as refreshing the stone pebbles, creating a calm space for families to enjoy.
The Bungalow garden also received some much needed love and attention after the winter where they cleared up the leaves and added some new plants and decorations. One of our favourite elements of the new garden are the planters which were hand made by one our volunteers and we also love the little decorations like the clock, bunting and wind chimes.
It has also been wonderful to see more birds in the garden thanks to the feeders and boxes, one of which is already home to a family of birds. We even now have a family of fairies living in the tree which has been delighting the children staying in the house. They have also been having lots of fun with the new sand pits and bubbles, all of which has been kindly donated by the Co-Op team.
We cannot thank the team enough for all they have done. They worked tirelessly to transform our garden to be a more inviting, relaxing and enjoyable space for our families, donating all the plants and materials and we are over the moon with the results!
7,900 Families and Counting
This April we helped our 7,900th family in need since opening our doors in 2002. We couldn't do this without the incredible support we get from you so thank you so much for helping us to keep families close whilst their child is in hospital.
We have also now reached over 1,000 likes on Facebook so thank you so much to all who follow our page! It is the best way to keep up to date with all things RMHB, if you don't already but would like to, please click here to go to our Facebook page.
An Egg-cellent Easter
This Easter we were absolutely blown away by the amount of Easter Eggs we had donated by our supporters. Huge thanks to our Ambassador Marianne and her friends, family and community, Thom, our volunteer Lincoln as well as the teams at Bristol Marriott City Centre and Bristol Marriott Royal and the colleagues and clients of Morgan McKinley. Their incredible generosity meant that all our family members had an egg on Easter as well as many left over which we continue to hand out to new families as they arrive.
The Oliver Family share their story
"When I look back at the time spent at the hospital in Bristol, my memories of the house overshadow my unpleasant memories in the ICU."
"At the end of April 2018 our precious sweet baby boy became so unwell that the watch Team had to pick him up from Devon and take him to Bristol children’s ICU. I arrived in the early hours of the morning and was given a parent room with a bunk bed for the night. I was so unwell and cold and was in terrible shock. By time I had made it back into ICU the sister and receptionist already had the paperwork waiting for me to apply for a room in RMH. I was told there could be a waiting list but I was so fortunate that a room became available and myself and my husband could go up that afternoon.
On arrival we were treated by such kind staff who were full of smiles. I was in such a mess as had been treated for a double blood clot and lung infection when our baby was born and I was two hours late with pumping my milk which was making me feel terrible. One lady grabbed us both a cup of tea whilst the other lady took me to a store room to get me an electric pump to sort myself out. They could see I was unwell so gave me details of a local GP surgery up the Hill which would see parents with children in the hospital.
The staff were amazing. The house was lovely and welcoming and overall my stay at the house was a real blessing. When I look back at the time spent at the hospital in Bristol my memories of the house overshadow my unpleasant memories in the ICU. Thankfully our baby boy recovered and is now doing great."
The Oliver Family stayed in 2018
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thank you for your support!
From all at RMHB, we would like to thank you for your incredible support! Without all our amazing supporters we wouldn't be able to keep our doors open and continue providing this vital place for families in need. Since 2002 we have now accommodated and supported over 7,700 families and counting!
2018 has been another busy year for us and it has been fantastic to see so many of you at our events, bringing donations to the house, participating in races and putting on your own events! We are honestly so very grateful for all you do and are already looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings.
Christmas at RMHB
December has, as always, been a very busy month for us! We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of so many people donating their time, money and an array of items to help support families this festive season. Sadly yet again our house will be at full capacity this Christmas. As always we try to make the house as homely and comfortable as possible for all our families.
Yet again we have had volunteers decorate the house and cook a Christmas meal for all to enjoy. As well as been delighted by volunteer choirs and collectors at our annual Christmas Carols. We are very happy to say that as always we have been blown away by the incredible amount of donations we have received which will ensure our families all have gifts, hampers and all the homely comforts they need.
Frankie - 21st December 2018
The End of our 15 for 15
On the 2nd November this year we turned 16 years old! As we go into our 17th year we are looking back over the range of new and exciting challenges we took on to mark our 15th Anniversary. Some were tried and tested, some completely new and we have had so much fun doing them and we hope you have to! It was important to us that these events offered opportunities for anyone to get involved whether that be staff, families or supporters and we were honestly blown away by the help we received!
The years planned events started with our Evening of Recognition to mark the anniversary of 15 years of helping families in need, by paying tribute to all who have made the past 15 years possible. We honestly couldn't continue without the help of all of our incredible supporters whether that be donors of items for our house and families, volunteers who maintain our house or help at events, or the fundraisers who take on many exciting and challenging events of their own! For each and every one of you we are so very grateful and cannot thank you enough for your amazing support.
Christmas is always a hectic but wonderful time of year for us. Our Choirs at Cabot Circus and Christmas Raffle are annual events that we are so grateful to have the support of volunteer collectors, choirs and ticket sellers for. For the 15 for 15 we wanted to mix up our usual Christmas line up so we got out the fancy dress and got on a bike for our Santathon in ASDA at Cribbs Causeway! This was a 12 hour relay cycle that our wonderful RMHB team took on with the help of some lovely local volunteers from McDonald's. Although this was a challenge, we enjoyed this event so much that we are doing it again this year on Sunday 9th December! Please get in contact if you would like to be involved.
Throughout the year we had social media campaigns to mark special days like National Baby Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day. This was the first time we had taken to social media as a form of fundraising and we look forward to exploring this more in the future. Our team also got involved and had great fun looking at each others baby photos! The Swimarathon was a great event that we will definitely be getting involved with again next year. The 50 minute challenge saw many frantic swimmers trying to get in as many laps as possible in a team relay. Our Office Manager took on the challenge alongside some families and children who have stayed here in the past and they all did brilliantly! This event is returning on the 3rd March 2019 and there are currently still places available. If you would like to get involved please contact our fundraising team.
One of the greatest challenges for our team this year was by far the sponsored silence. We are a very chatty office and it is so difficult to operate the office without being able to speak! Thank goodness for our volunteer Jayne who kept the office running smoothly whilst we all frantically wrote notes and taped our mouths shut. Although it was very challenging we are very proud to say not one of us broke our silence - however we won't be rushing to do it again! The Skydive was yet another challenge taken on by our amazing Office Manager Malika. Due to poor weather she wasn't able to jump until September but it was an incredible experience that you simply have to try to appreciate! If anyone would like to take on the challenge of a Skydive speak to our fundraising team as SkyDive Buzz down in Devon have a connection to the house and will allow you to jump for free if you raise £395 or more for our house!
Our annual Golf Day was a great success again this year with many returning teams of supporters. This year we chose to try out a different venue and headed to the stunning Rolls of Monmouth. Luckily it only decided to rain as it was time to come in and a great day was had by all. In 2019 we will return to the equally stunning Celtic Manor and are pleased to say we already have many teams booked in! If you secure your teams place by the 31st December 2018 you can have a four ball with brunch and dinner for £650! For more information please contact our fundraising team.
Our biggest undertaking for our 15 for 15 was by far RMHB Fest, our very own music festival! We were blown away by the help and support we got for this and had an incredible time! We couldn't have wished for better weather and it was so great to see so many of our supporters and past families. Personal highlights for our team included meeting Toploader and having Points West report on the day! All in all it was a great success and we are pleased to say we plan to hold the event again in June next year. Watch this space for more information and early bird tickets!
Our final event of our 15 for 15 was our Sports Dinner. Although we have held dinners before we have never before had a guest speaker and Paul Merson certainly kept everyone entertained with his stories and anecdotes. Throughout the evening Russ Williams had everyone laughing and an amazing amount was raised by our auction and raffle. We were so happy to see so many of our supporters alongside some new faces and took this as an opportunity to invite our amazing ambassadors by way of thanks for all that they do. It was a great way to finish off this year of fundraising and an event we would love to do again in the future.
Although a couple of the events we had planned to take on were unfortunately cancelled, we are so happy with the way our 15 for 15 went and cannot thank you all enough for your support along the way. Overall these events raised an incredible £37,622.88 in total and we would like to thank each and every one of you for helping us achieve this great amount. Every penny we raise goes straight to supporting and accommodating our families at there time in need and we are so grateful to everyone who got involved.
Frankie - 15th November 2018
Fundraising fun 🙂
My heart is racing, my knees are shaking and I’m petrified about what is about to happen...
Am I talking about jumping out of a plane last weekend? No! I’m talking about the sponsored silence we did to raise much-needed funds for RMHB - although skydiving from 15,000 feet was no small feat either! I am such a chatterbox and am constantly humming away to myself so I am proud to say we survived the whole day silent with no slip-ups. These were just two of the ’15 for 15’ events that have been happening since November 2017 to mark our 15th anniversary. Since opening we have now helped over 7600 families which is amazing!
Being Office Manager, I welcome new families to the house and keep on top of maintenance and orders so it was nice to try my hand at a bit of fundraising. We had many exciting events which both the RMHB staff and our supporters were involved in. I started last December with a 12 hour relay cycle ride inside a local supermarket whilst we were dressed as elves and some lovely McDonald’s staff came and dressed up as Santa and held buckets. It was just before Christmas and so everyone was in a jolly mood and quite a few young children thought it was the real Santa!
Next up was a Swimarathon at a local school swimming pool. The idea is get sponsored to swim as many lengths as you can in 50 minutes and we had several groups of brilliant children swimming for our charity whose families know about us or have stayed at RMHB in the past. I was very pleased with my 60 lengths although several of the children swimming alongside me managed 65-70! This is an event that we do every year and so it would be great if anyone wants to get involved – you can do it relay style or any style really so it’s great for children and adults of all ages. Please contact us for further information.
Now then… that sponsored silence. Firstly a huge thanks to our volunteer Jayne for looking after the office and answering all the telephone calls (writing things on sticky notes isn’t a great way to communicate by phone :P). Being silent for a day definitely taught us to appreciate how nice it is having each other to talk to during difficult days in the office and having another person to bounce ideas off. We were all noticeably much more noisy the day after! Topping off my final event for the ’15 for 15’ I went and did a skydive last weekend which is an amazing experience and I fully recommend it to anyone who’s thinking about it. The company Skydive Buzz in Devon are connected to RMHB and so you can do a charity jump where you jump for free if you raise £400 or more for RMHB. You get a once in a lifetime experience and we get funds to help us keep RMHB going for the next 15 years. A win all round!
Whilst my fundraising adventures are drawing to a close we still have lots of exciting events coming up if you want to get involved. On Thursday 18th October we are holding a Sports Dinner hosted by comedian Russ Williams with after dinner laughs and anecdotes provided by football legend Paul Merson. There are still tickets available for this event and with great raffle prizes and auction lots like 4 x tickets to see Elf in December or 2 x tickets for X Factor; it’s a great way to raise vital funds for RMHB! In December we will be returning to Cabot Circus for our choir concerts and bucket collection on the 13th, 14th and 15th as well as doing another Santathon and bag pack at Cribbs Asda on the 9th. We are still looking for choirs and volunteers so if you want to get involved let our fundraising team know.
Malika - September 6th 2018
Busy, Busy, Busy!
It’s been a crazy old time (in a good way) here at Ronald McDonald House Bristol, especially over the last 3 months. We have a new team member, Frankie, who has been amazing, I for one, don’t know how I would have coped without her! We held RMHB FEST in June, which I am pleased to say, will be back next year - by popular demand. If you missed it – it was the most amazing day – so be sure to watch this space and keep up with all of our FEST plans for 2019! Last week we held our annual golf day at a brand new venue – The Rolls of Monmouth Golf Club. We were completely spoilt by the stunning surroundings and the grand Old Manor House where the staff looked after us and our golfers impeccably. However there was lots of organising to be done. Although we are a really small team, which, including volunteers (thanks to Rob and Javier on the day) totalled 6 people, everyone rallied round and this year we managed to feed, water and keep our 80 golfers happy. Thank you to all those involved, the golfers, and especially all of our sponsors. With little time for recovery, Frankie and I (who are THE fundraising team) are now in full organisational swing for our Paul Merson Sports Dinner on 18th October. We are also making our fundraising plans for our Christmas 2018 events, RMHB FEST 2019, Golf 2019, as well as looking after all of our individual and corporate supporters. Busy, busy, busy!!
When my children were younger I used to read them a story they loved! It was called Busy, busy, busy. It was about a little boy who was desperate for his mum to stop doing housework one day and pay him some attention. He spied her at one point surrounded by washing and ironing ‘with her arms stuck in the sink and 2 big tears rolling down her cheeks’. The story ends with the little boy dragging his mother out of the house just in time to see 6 geese flying overhead as the sun was going down. The story always used to make me stop, think and take stock. It still does as I discovered when I found the book again the other day. We all spend so much time rushing round and fretting about doing all these ‘important’ things that there is little time to reflect or just see the things that actually matter.
Working at RMHB puts life into perspective and certainly makes me realise what’s important. Every day I come into contact with families who are staying with us, who are all going through the hardest time of their lives. Their housework is certainly on hold – so are the rest of their lives! It serves as my daily reminder as to why I do what I do – to help raise over £270,000 every year to keep our house going, so we can help even more families in the future.
So today, although I managed to write my blog, spend an hour with a group of NCS students and get most of my ‘important ‘work done, I didn’t have time to send that long email or make that power point perfect for the next corporate group! That’s fine by me, we were so busy today at RMHB that I was mucking in with some of the jobs, doing the things that actually matter. The most important thing for us today is that 4 families went home which meant we had 4 rooms to give out to other families on our waiting list, family members who will tonight now have a bed to sleep in near the hospital. So today was a good, if busy, day!
Anna - July 23rd 2018
A Word from our Support Worker
Last week I did my fortnightly visit to the Children’s Hospital. It was an uplifting morning with several families sharing good news of their children. It is wonderful when this happens. A lot of healing goes on in the Hospital, but it can take a very long time which is very challenging for the families, especially when there are siblings involved. The families show such courage and it is a privilege to get to know them and to hear their stories in such a difficult stage of their lives.
My role is to see if there is anything that they need that we can provide, whilst also checking on their well-being at such a stressful time. I ask if they are remembering to eat, trying to get some sleep etc., but sometimes they just need a listening ear. They are so grateful for RMHB and constantly tell me that they could not manage without it. It is a short break away from the hospital for them, which can be so valuable at such a traumatic time.
It is wonderful to meet the families and some I will never forget.
Thank you everyone for all that you do to ease people through a really difficult and challenging stage of their lives. It is really appreciated.
Janet - May 8th 2018
Having a ball
I love surprises. Back in November last year we received an email out of the blue. It was from the Bristol And District Chartered Accounts Student's Society (BADCASS) who were emailing to say they would like to raise money for our charity at their 2018 ball. I had never heard of their society and was equally surprised that they HAD heard of us. RMHB is the sort of charity that is a wonderful support when you need it but you wouldn’t otherwise come across if you didn’t stay here or know of someone who did. We were really pleased that BADCASS had chosen us as their charity for the 2018 ball and that they had reached out to include us in the event of their own accord. BADCASS is a not-for-profit society run by some lovely people.
Our fundraisers at RMHB do an amazing job of raising the £270,000 we need each year to keep supporting families – each room is £35 per night per room and we make no charge to the families. They are brilliant at organising and attending events and making RMHB proud. They also get invited to really great events like the BADCASS ball. Fortunately for me they were unable to go which meant that I got to go to the ball. Unfortunately for me I’m not that brilliant at organising and attending events (which is why I do the admin and finance instead). The idea of giving a speech to 400 people filled me with dread but I love RMHB and knew I’d be able to let everyone know what their donations would be helping even if my legs were shaking whilst I said it.
The ball was Alice in Wonderland themed and was held in a function room at Ashton Gate Stadium. There was a magician and a skilled face paint artist and there was a mad hatter and a hare. The mad hatter introduced me to the stage to do my speech with a kiss and a bow. The speech went absolutely fine and I was able to then watch as everyone joined in the games to help raise some much needed funds for us. Along with the usual ticket sales income and raffle prizes they also raise money by playing ‘heads or tails’ which is a game where everyone donates to play and then either chooses head (by making bunny ears on their head with their hands) or tails (by making a bunny tail on their bums with their hands). A coin was then flipped and called out by the organisers and anyone who got it wrong has to sit down. Eventually they were down to 8 people who all lined up at the front (as best a line you can make when you’ve had a bit too much of the table wine) for a very tense finale which had myself and our volunteer Chris on the edge of our seats.
A huge thank you to BADCASS organisers Sophie Fox and Esther Leung for reaching out to us and inviting us to a brilliant evening of fun and fundraising. I was once again reminded of all the amazing things that happen every week at RMHB and how lucky we are to have such great supporters.
Malika - April 9th 2018
15 for 15
There are lots of times when I feel very lucky to be a part of RMHB. From receiving a card in the post from a family who stayed with us years ago, to having people popping in with a bag full of food for families and walking in to the communal kitchen to see two families cooking together or sat outside in the garden spending time with each other – these are all parts that make up that great feeling of being part of such an incredible and special place.
Now that we are entering the 15th year of RMHB, something that has become very clear to me is that one of the most special parts of being involved in this charity, is that I am constantly surrounded by people who are so dedicated to spreading the word about who we are and are always willing to go that extra mile (or 10,000 feet up in the air) to get the word out. What is so contagious about being a part of the team here, be it for the last fifteen years or one or two like myself, is that as soon as you walk through the front doors of the house you realise just how important somewhere like this is and feel so drawn in to wanting to make sure that those doors stay open for families.
So, to mark this special 15th year, we will be hosting 15 fundraising events throughout the year, which the whole RMHB team will be taking part in – we have called this 15for15. From a 24 hour bike ride, skydiving, working 15 shifts in McDonalds to even taking on the challenges of hosting our very own RMHB FEST in June 2018 (Glasto eat your heart out!) each one of us is pushing ourselves well out of our comfort zones and doing it all in the name of RMHB.
We are all so passionate about keeping this vital place of comfort going so that many more families in need can continue to benefit from our home-from-home for years to come. Without the amazing support that we receive from so many incredible people, this really would not be possible. If you feel as passionate as we do about Ronald McDonald House Bristol and want to help make this year our best one yet, then why not join us in our 15for15. Whether you fancy taking on the challenge of skydive, taking part in our 24 hour bike ride or joining us at our RMHB FEST, there are so many ways that you can get involved. We might be small team, but together we are determined to make a big difference!
For more information on our 15for15 campaign, or to make a donation please follow the link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/RMHB15for15
Linny - 22nd November 2017
A Decade of Volunteering!
Everyone will tell you that time flies…how right they are!
Ten Years ago I decided to retire from my busy and hectic work life in Hotels - I was very much looking forward to having more holidays and doing things I had never had the opportunity to do before. Slight panic set in thinking will I have enough to fill my days? I then had a “lightbulb” moment - I should volunteer, but where could I go that I would enjoy and also be flexible to fit in with my much loved holidays.
My best decision was to meet with Denise at Ronald McDonald House Bristol and have a chat. I had been working with the House through the Marriott Spirit to Serve Programme and had met everyone at the House on many occasions, so I already knew what a wonderful place it was. After the chat, I had no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted to do. Ten years later I know I made the right decision.
I see how parents value the House and are able to relax a little and bring some “normality “ day to day when they return after spending time with their child at the hospital.
As a volunteer on a regular basis I tell them I will do virtually anything they need - with the exception of things like jumping out of planes, laminating and writing blogs!
RMH Bristol is a completely independent charity so I work closely with the two fundraisers, Anna and Linny and feel that I can contribute in some way to their efforts. I can spend hours on the phone persuading companies and people to donate prizes for Auctions and Raffles and am always overwhelmed at people’s generosity. So many are also happy to donate their time, from businesses who offer their services to schools and adults willing to dedicate time to sing at our Christmas concerts. I love doing a Toy Sale in the lobby of the Bristol Children’s Hospital to raise funds; it is so much fun and I have even roped my sister into helping me!
I feel very privileged to be invited along to events such as the recent 15 year celebration of the opening of the House. Every member of the team over the years has made me feel very welcome, they care about the families and they care about each other and me.
2018 is going to be exciting year with so many events planned celebrating 15 years since the opening of the House, I am 100% sure the team will have plenty for me to do!
Looking back to 2007, I guess I never thought that ten years on I would still be volunteering and loving it, and I still find it personally very rewarding. The people I have had contact with during this time have been amazing, it fills me with happiness and I am grateful that Denise agreed to me being a part of the team.
Oh and yes I can still fit in all my much loved holidays!!!
Jayne - January 23rd 2018