Photo of the Fitzgerald Family

Fitzgerald Family Story

In the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, 700kms away from Perth is Esperance. It’s here that Amelia, Rory and Matilda (5.5 months) call home.

Little Matilda was born early at 35 weeks with severe growth restriction. One day before Matilda was born, her parents Amelia and Rory, learned that she had a large hole in her small heart.

On the 2nd of October 2021, Matilda was born in King Edward Memorial Hospital and transferred to Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH).

Ronald McDonald House Charities Western Australia (RMHC WA) provided the family with supported accommodation at the Ronald McDonald House within PCH. Amelia says, “we were grateful to be provided with a room on level 5 while Matilda spent time in NICU, as it allowed us to be very close to her while she was in hospital.”

The family stayed for a few nights before receiving the news that they could return home. However, it would not be the end of Matilda’s medical journey.

“We returned in December because Matilda had started having Tet Spells. Her diagnosis was Tetralogy of Fallot and we were put on an RFDS flight from Esperance. We were able to stay at the House on level 5 and also the Nedlands House,” says Amelia.

Amelia and Rory say that while Matilda is very small she has a few superpowers.

“She is very small (5.5 months old and 3.9kgs) but she is full of courage and strength… her superpower is that she is strong enough to endure anything and that makes the rest of us stronger.”

The family have been supported by RMHC WA for 38 nights across 4 separate stays in both the PCH House and Nedlands House. It was a home away from home that kept the family close together when they needed it most.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities allows us to stay close to Matilda together, we are never alone.

The meals provided mean that we eat properly and just the little things like the volunteers helping out with our laundry makes the time at the Hospital easier.

Thank you to all the staff and volunteers at RMHC WA, they bring a little spark of light to our stays.”

Thankfully, the family is currently back at home in Esperance.  Amelia, Rory and Matilda’s favourite things about their hometown, is the natural pristine beauty that surrounds them – the clear blue water and white sands of the coastline, as well as the Esperance community.

When WA families need a home away from home, RMHC WA will always be there to provide accommodation, home-cooked meals, play and learning, and support during difficult times.