After being deprived of normality and happiness for two years, this family was given the greatest gift of all - their boy’s life.

In mid 2010, 10-year-old Canberra schoolboy Darcy was admitted to hospital and treated for severe aplastic anaemia after more than six months of unexplained health complications. The boy’s bone marrow had simply stopped working, meaning no blood cells or platelets were being produced.

Darcy had to rely on constant life-saving transfusions and antibiotics, eventually receiving a bone marrow transplant using stem cells from the cord of another child at the end of 2010.

While Darcy was continuously in and out of hospital for treatment his mother Megan, her husband Hugh, and Darcy’s sister Mia put their lives on hold.

Fast-forward to 2011 when Megan and the family were staying at Ronald McDonald House as Darcy still lay in a hospital bed, skeletal after almost two years of treatment. The family were uncertain whether he would make it to Christmas.

“It was two years of intense, ever present life-threatening issues,” Megan says. “Darcy was flown to Sydney and for a large part of that time we lived at Ronald McDonald House by the hospital in Randwick.”

“It’s hard to know how you’d survive financially without Ronald McDonald House,” Megan says. “Having somewhere safe and secure to live, right next to the hospital, is everything. But the House offers so much more than that. They walk the journey with you, and that’s exactly what you need when you’re vulnerable.”

Near the end of 2011 and reaching the limits of his body’s ability to survive, Darcy’s doctor, Associate Professor Richard Cohn, entered the room and made an announcement Darcy’s mother would never forget.

“His bone marrow is working!” the specialist said.

Mum Megan didn’t know what to say. “We still don’t know what made his bone marrow work again,” Megan says. “But we are so thankful for the cord donated by another mother, the stem cell transplant and Darcy’s brilliant medical team. And of course, Darcy’s willpower! By the end of December Darcy had the building blocks in place to become well again.” 

“To have fun together thanks to Ronald McDonald Family Retreat is part of the healing experience.”

Once Darcy, now 14, was on the road to recovery, the family craved time away from hospitals and worries. They needed a holiday and were amazed when they were offered a week at the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat in Palm Cove, Queensland.

“You’re coming back from deprivation - deprivation from normal life, from happiness, from doing anything associated with pleasure and respite,” Megan says.

“To be offered a family holiday where you go to a warm location and you have a poolside apartment means more than anybody can imagine. It’s wonderful in many ways - emotionally and financially and from a family point of view. To have fun together is part of the healing experience.”

Every year Ronald McDonald House Charities helps thousands of families when they need it the most. Help us to continue making a difference bringing help and comfort to families in need.


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