Support McHappy Day says family

18:59, Nov 15 2012

The parents of an Invercargill toddler who lost her eye after being diagnosed with cancer are urging Southlanders to support Ronald McDonald House Charities during McHappy Day tomorrow.

Hamish and Tina Baird said they were thankful for the support they received when staying at Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch with their 2-year-old daughter Ruby.

The house provides the families of sick children with a place to stay beside the hospital along with other facilities and resources.

Little Ruby had an operation to remove her right eye after she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma - a rare cancer of the retina - and is now adjusting to wearing a prosthetic eye.

The family will travel to Christchurch every three months for the next five years, so doctors can readjust Ruby's prosthetic as she grows.

Mr Baird was overwhelmed when the family first stayed at the house and said the support was "amazing" every time the family went back.


"You just don't know what to expect. It's such a safe, friendly environment that's like a home. Food is provided and there are great play facilities for the children and a great atmosphere," he said.

Mrs Baird said Ronald McDonald House comforted her daughter.

"Ruby likes staying there. She knows all the procedures are over and there are no more doctors when we return to the house," she said.

Everyone at the house was emotionally supportive, she said

The Bairds talked with other families also going through difficult times. She said the staff were amazing and organised free outings for the family.

After one traumatic day at hospital, a volunteer provided Ruby with a soothing massage, she said.

"Ruby woke asking, ‘Mummy where is my new eye'. She was like a new child after that."

McDonald's restaurants will support the Ronald McDonald House Charities by selling Smile Stickers for $1 each, which customers can personalise and display on the wall of the restaurant to show their support. All proceeds go to Ronald McDonald House Charities with 20 cents from every Pump mini sold.

During McHappy Day tomorrow, $1 from every Big Mac and Happy Meal sold will also be donated.

Fundraising activities such as a bouncy castle and collection buckets will also be in restaurants.

Plans for a Ronald McDonald four-bedroom "family room" at Southland Hospital by early 2013 was announced last December.

The Southland Times