26 Apr A Holiday To Remember
For many of us family holidays are a given in our yearly calendar. Whether it’s a road trip to see friends, a lazy week or two by the beach or heading to the grandparent’s house with all of your cousins, there’s always an adventure on the cards. But for 75% of families with a sick or injured child, holidays are simply out of reach[i].
From the day her daughter Zhiging was born 11 years ago, Lizzie dreamt of taking her entire family on a seaside holiday. She longed for Zhiging to feel the sand between her toes, play in the ocean, and be mesmerized by new surroundings.
But for Lizzie it wasn’t that simple.
As a single mother and full-time carer to both her parents who have dementia along with Zhiging, who was born with cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, leaving her nonverbal and bound to a wheelchair; the cost, the time, the facilities and the help made it feel like mission impossible.
At night once she’d managed to get everyone fed and to bed, Lizzie would turn to her phone and search holiday destination after holiday destination, trawling for accessibility friendly accommodation, add them to her cart but never click ‘check out’.
RMHC WA understands that Lizzie is not alone, with the average cost of a family holiday being around $3000[ii] it can feel like getting the chance to take a break from the seemingly endless medical appointments and hospital visits to just enjoy time together is unobtainable.
It was one of those late-night searches that lead Lizzie to RMHC WA’s Family Retreats. She couldn’t believe what she was reading; At no charge, bereaved families or those with sick children, can book one of Ronald McDonald Family Retreats for a maximum of one week.
That next morning Lizzie made the call to RMHC WA to be told; we would be delighted to book you and your entire family into our Busselton Family Retreat for six nights.
This was it; this was exactly what she had been searching for. All of sudden what once felt like an unreachable dream was now a reality.
The family travelled to Busselton and for the first time in Zhining’s life she was on holiday, not just with mum but her grandparents too.
For Lizzie, she finally got to sit with her parents by her side, and watch as her daughter put her toes in the sand, played in the ocean and was mesmerized by the natural beauty around her.
“Although she is non-verbal, you couldn’t stop her from laughing and giggling at pretty much everything and anything.
We explored the Busselton Jetty, drove to Yallingup and through Margaret River, all of us together.” Lizzie said
Holidays are so much more than getting away, they’re an important time to disconnect from the day to day and reconnect with family and friends. And for 81% of families with a sick or injured child, access to Ronald McDonald Family Retreats plays a vital role in improving the overall health and wellbeing of an entire family[iii], just like Lizzie’s.