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HomeLifestyleSouth-East Housebuilder Supports Ronald McDonald Charities UK

South-East Housebuilder Supports Ronald McDonald Charities UK

Representatives from Dandara South East were recently invited to unveil a plaque on the door of a bedroom at Ronald McDonald House Camberwell in London.

The housebuilder raised £15,000 to pay for a year’s sponsorship of The Shenley room in Camberwell House, which provides accommodation for families with sick children who are being treated at nearby King’s College Hospital.

The South East team, who are based in Tunbridge Wells, were inspired to help after Head of Customer Care Amanda Thomas stayed there while her 15-year-old son Charlie was recovering from a brain operation.

David Garrett, Managing Director of Dandara South East, said: “When Amanda told us about all the help she had received through Camberwell House we were really moved, hotel accommodation especially in London would have been very expensive.

“Camberwell is a real home from home with cooking, leisure, and laundry facilities to make long term stays comfortable. We were given a tour of the House and were so touched by what the charity does for families of sick children in times of great stress, trauma and need.”

The Dandara team were so impressed by their visit that they are now looking at other ways to support Camberwell House which was a real lifeline for Amanda during Charlie’s illness. He became unwell during lockdown suffering with headaches and eventually went into Kings College Hospital for an operation to release fluid from his brain.

Amanda explained: “Charlie started to have terrible headaches and pins and needles and would lie on the floor moaning in pain. We took him to the doctor and they diagnosed him with a Chiari malformation which caused parts of his brain to push down into the spinal canal. It’s a relatively common condition and we thought he would be in and out of hospital in a matter of days.

“Unfortunately things were more complicated than we thought and he ended up in intensive care and what was supposed to be three days in hospital turned into 17 weeks. He wasn’t able to swallow and was on a ventilator for two weeks and had a tracheostomy for 12 weeks which was very frightening.

“Camberwell House was a godsend for us, they provided a room for me to stay and Charlie’s twin brother, older sister and my ex-husband were able to come for sleepovers so that they could visit him. When Charlie started to improve he was able to come over for meals there which definitely helped with his recovery.”

After an intensive period of rehab, Charlie learned to walk, talk and eat again and has now made a full recovery. Proud mum Amanda says that despite missing a lot of school he has now caught up on coursework and is looking forward to sitting his GCSE’s.

She said: “I am so grateful to my colleagues at Dandara who were with me every step of the way, they let me do flexible hours so I was able to commute to work from Camberwell House and they gave endless amounts of support and encouragement through what was such a hard time.

“I was thrilled when they said they wanted to donate the proceeds from our annual golf day to the Camberwell House, it meant the world to me.”

Ronald McDonald House Camberwell House has provided free accommodation to the families of children staying at King’s College Hospital since April 2000. The House is equipped with 24 bedrooms, communal areas and a children’s play area.

Marie-Claire Zephir-Perrot, House Manager of Camberwell House said: “In 2022, we accommodated 230 families and we’d not be able to support as many families as we do, without the help of our dedicated fundraisers and corporate supporters like Dandara.

“Having a child in hospital is a stressful enough experience without having to worry about how you are going to pay for accommodation and manage living out of a suitcase in a hotel room. Being surrounded by friendly faces and being able to talk to other families who are in a similar situation is hugely important and makes the whole process easier to deal with.”

For more information about Ronald McDonald House Camberwell go to https://rmhc.org.uk/our-houses/camberwell-house/

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