Ronald McDonald House Charities has launched an appeal for people to send a hug to their loved ones in the lead up to National Hug Day (the 21st of January) and help keep the charity’s doors open through 2022. To mark National Hug Day 2022, Ronald McDonald House Charities is asking people to send Barróg, a little grey teddy-bunny, and the Irish for hug, to someone you miss and help to support families whose children are seriously ill in hospital. All proceeds from the purchase of Barróg go directly to supporting the families of sick children staying at The Ronald McDonald House.
The Ronald McDonald House provides accommodation and a caring, supportive environment for families whose children are seriously ill and hospitalised at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, Ireland’s largest paediatric hospital. The Ronald McDonald House enables families to stay together and be actively involved in their children’s day to day life while they are long term in hospital. Since opening 17 years ago it has housed almost 4,500 families from across the country. The charity also provides over 12,000 meals a year to these families.
CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities Ireland, Joe Kenny, said: “Now more than ever people need a hug and so we are delighted to launch our National Hug Day Campaign for 2022 with Barróg. Having a sick child in hospital creates untold physical, mental and emotional challenges for families and COVID-19 has exacerbated this now that many cannot rely on the support network of friends and family. It is therefore essential that we continue to support these families by providing a safe and secure environment, close to their children in hospital”.
Calling on everyone to share a big Barróg hug to loved ones, Maurice McGeehan, Performance Chef for the IRFU, who stayed at The Ronald McDonald House when his son needed open heart surgery said: “Having a sick child in hospital is every family’s nightmare. With current Covid restrictions, it is especially challenging and that is why RMHC needs all the support it can get to stay open and continue to provide its essential service to families from all over Ireland”.
Maurice’s family story:
Maurice and his wife Priscila, from Donegal, stayed at The Ronald McDonald House when their newborn son Gabriel was rushed to Crumlin Hospital 5 years ago.
“Gabriel was born in Letterkenny hospital and immediately we knew there was something wrong. Gabriel had major heart problems that hadn’t been picked up on any of his scans and there was no time to lose. He was rushed into an ambulance and on his way to Crumlin Hospital before the shock of everything even set in for us. My wife had just given birth and she was now in the passenger seat of our car following this ambulance to Dublin. It was all just so scary and sudden.
Once we arrived in Crumlin and saw Gabriel into the care of the hospital we were now faced with a new problem- where were we going to stay? We knew we would be in Dublin for weeks and we had arrived to the hospital with no cases and no plan for accommodation.
Luckily The Ronald McDonald House had a room for us and this became our home for the coming weeks while we faced our “new normal”.
The House was so good to have. It was a quiet, comfortable, understanding place where we could sleep, eat and refuel from shifts at Gabriel’s bedside. Best of all, it was across the road from the hospital and Gabriel. There was space in our room too for our other son Patrick, which meant we could be together as a full family.
It’s an incredible service for people during such a difficult time.”
The COVID-19 crisis has created especially challenging conditions for families staying in Ronald McDonald House. With hospitals having had to restrict visits to one parent the House provides a haven for families between visits. This service has been vital for families of children with long-term illnesses who cannot rely on the support network of extended family throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Ronald McDonald House Charities, like so many charities in Ireland, has been seriously impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
To send someone special a big Barróg hug, visit www.rmhc.ie.
Each Barróg can be purchased with a personalised gift card and gift bag for €10 ex p&p. All proceeds from the purchase of Barróg go directly to supporting the families of sick children staying at The Ronald McDonald House.