Six months in and out of the hospital for 13-year-old Benjamin after bone marrow transplant.
“He was a healthy, active young boy – and out of nowhere everything changed.” - Mum, Gillian
You never envisage having a seriously ill child. One moment your child is healthy and the next your world is turned upside down. For Gillian and her family, the Hewitt’s that is exactly what happened.
Benjamin was very active and rode his bike 12kms every day to and from school and loved competing in Judo matches.
But in October 2015 unexplained lesions and extreme bruising started appearing all over his body. Doctors thought it could be leukaemia and after a lot of tests and weekly blood transfusions in hospital, Benjamin was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anaemia (SAA). It is a condition where the bone marrow stops working or producing any cells.
“After his diagnoses, the first thing they did was test all of us, his two sisters and Bruce and I.” Mum, Gillian
There is only a 1 in 4 chance that a family member will be a match. Fortunately for the Hewitt family, their youngest daughter Aurora was a perfect match.
“I was hoping it would be me.” Sister, Aurora
“It was a huge relief that Aurora could help and ultimately save her brother’s life.” Mum, Gillian
Within a matter of weeks, Benjamin was receiving Chemotherapy in preparation for the transplant. His little sister, Aurora donated her bone marrow three days before Christmas. The whole family stayed at Ronald McDonald House across the summer to be together while he was being treated.
“The house is an absolute life saver. I don’t know how people could ever survive or manage without Ronald McDonald House.” Mum, Gillian
So far, the Hewitt family has spent 161 nights at our Ronald McDonald House. Due to complications with Benjamin’s recovery, both he and his mum, Gillian, are still staying at the House. They are hoping to return to their family home in the Hunter Valley in the near future.
“We love being in the House because of the people we have been able to meet. It’s really changed my life and my perspective forever. And being so close to the hospital in case something happened was invaluable.
We are very very thankful for Ronald McDonald House.” Mum, Gillian
Whether it’s 1 night, or 161 nights, the staff and volunteers at Ronald McDonald House Randwick provides love and essential support to over 800 distressed families a year.