“Oh, bye!” Taylor signals to her mum as she walks off on her first day at kinder, barely looking back as she does. Like all first days, it can be an emotional time for parents as they watch their little ones become “big kids”.
For Taylor’s mum, Diane, it’s a day she never thought she’d see.
Her independent, sociable little girl is lucky to be alive. After being diagnosed with a heart condition at just two months old, Taylor has spent her entire short life in hospital. She has been in and out of surgeries, in and out of ICU, on life support, brought back to life, had a stroke, developed cerebral palsy and is unable to speak.
It’s difficult to imagine half of what this family has been through in the last four years. But this is all they’ve known of life with Taylor. And “Ronnie Mac” as Diane affectionately calls it, has become their second home.
With her husband at work and her daughter in hospital, Diane has spent the good part of the last four years at Ronald McDonald House. It’s where she’s connected with other families by sharing dinners, journeys and emotions. And it’s where she’s made “real, lifelong friends.”
“They are so kind. There is always a shoulder to cry on, always someone to talk to, and always someone to cheer you up.” says Diane of the staff at the House.
Having a place to stay that’s close to the hospital has meant Diane could be at her daughter’s side, every day for the last four years. Something that would’ve been impossible otherwise.
Taylor and Diane have been back at home for a while now and while Diane is thrilled Taylor is finding her way in the world, Diane admits, “I feel like I’m going home” whenever they go back to Ronald McDonald House.