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What's your Why? Mel and Daryl Coombes

"It could've been us."

House Warmers Mel and Daryl Coombes from Nelson are paying it forward by donating $10 a week to Ronald McDonald House South Island.

The couple spent two nights at the Christchurch House in 2018, and while awaiting a diagnosis for daughter Victoria met Pat and Jeanna Connell from Hokitika who were at the Child Haematology and Oncology Centre (CHOC) with their son Lachie.

“We talked with Pat and Jeanna, and we were all in disbelief that we were in this position. Life was turned upside down in a moment. One minute everything’s fine, the next we are in the CHOC ward with our child not even able to comprehend what is happening. The stress was unbelievable,” Mel said.

At the time, they thought Victoria might have the same type of cancer as Lachie, but she was later diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) which turned out to be not cancerous and they returned home two days later.

In our Winter 2019 newsletter, Pat shared his family’s journey of staying at Ronald McDonald House South Island for 229 nights while Lachie received treatment.

“When we read the newsletter, we couldn’t believe how long they had stayed there for. We had stayed two nights, but knowing them and the benefit for them the House provided, we really wanted to donate, so we started donating $40 a month.”

“It was seeing them and thinking that could have been us. They were just such an awesome family and provided such comfort.

“When we left, we always remembered them and really wanted to do something for them in particular, so this is one way we could do that.”

For anyone considering becoming a House Warmer, Daryl says don’t worry about how much you can give.

“The amount we contribute is next to nothing compared to someone being in that sort of pain and having something wrong with their children. It’s such an amazing place and being around
other people who know that same pain as you’re going through is life-changing,” he says.

“The hardest thing is simply making the decision to do something.”

Join the House Warmers team and become a regular donor.

Whether it’s $5 or $50, it all makes a difference to ensuring Ronald McDonald House South Island can continue to provide its services. Click here become a House Warmer.

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