House’s appeal hits home

A big impact: Parents Abby Lewis and Shane Langstaff with daughter Indi. photograph supplied


Ronald McDonald House Charities Victoria and Tasmania are calling on the public to
support its Matched Giving Day Stronger Together Appeal, with one Traralgon family highlighting the importance of the organisation’s work.

Abby Lewis and partner Shane Langstaff received the shock of their lives when it was revealed daughter Indi was born with a spinal defect called spina bifida.

Speaking with The Express, Ms Lewis outlined her family’s story and how they became involved with Ronald McDonald House.

“I did not know Indi had the defect when I was pregnant so it was a bit of a shock at birth,” Ms Lewis said.

“She was transferred to the Monash Children’s Hospital and they had to do a bunch of
investigations so in that time we stayed at Ronald McDonald House because we weren’t sure how long we would have to be waiting for.”

She said the impact that the Ronald McDonald House had on their young family at the time was immense.

“It was a really scary time for us, we didn’t know what to expect or what was going to happen, but the Ronald McDonald House pretty much took a massive weight off our shoulders,” she said.

“It gave us somewhere to stay, somewhere to eat and still be close by the hospital so we could be with Indi so we really were just so fortunate to have them assisting us through that time.”

Just four months after their initial stay, the family were again forced to stay at the Ronald McDonald House as Indi underwent further treatment.

Ms Lewis said she felt obliged to help the foundation given the support they gave her family.
“Just months after birth Indi had to go back in for surgery on her spinal cord so we ended up staying at the Ronald McDonald House for a further nine days and it was great to see all the same staff who constantly asked how we and Indi were doing,” she said.

“Following the first time we stayed we actually made a $500 donation just because they helped us so much, and then the second time we noticed there community fridges were quiet low on food so we went out and bought $500 worth of food for other families to use.”

Now at the age of six months, Indi has recovered well and is exceeding all expectations in terms of development.

“Indi is doing really well, all her development is very advanced and is doing everything earlier than expected which is good for us knowing her surgery has limited her from anything,” she said.

“We were unsure of how she was going to develop and how her future would look, but she is doing really well and proving us all wrong.”

Ms Lewis stressed the importance of supporting the Matched Giving Day Stronger Together Appeal.

“I think it is very important to help all the families that need to stay at the Ronald McDonald House because without them there is no chance to stay close to the hospital and be able to provide their children with the support they need.”

The Appeal runs from 12pm today until 12pm tomorrow, to donate visit www.strongertogether or call 03 9966 8420.