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A Place We Belong

Kylie Bellis from Greymouth shares her experience staying at the Ronald McDonald Family Room in Christchurch Hospital, when her 14-year-old son Korban was in a head-on collision.

Kylie Bellis and her family of five utilised our Ronald McDonald Family Room at Christchurch Hospital (Waipapa) when her 14-year-old son Korban was in a head-on collision, sustaining multiple and serious injuries as a result. They were able to sleep in one of our en-suite bedrooms next to Korban’s ward, which meant they could be near him as he recovered. Here, Kylie explains what the service meant for her and her family, at a time when they needed it most.


Thanks for sharing your story Kylie! Who is in your family? 

We are a family of five from Greymouth. John-Paul and I have three sons: Arly who is 16, Korban who’s 14 and 12-year-old Zade.


Tell us a bit about your child’s medical situation and subsequent treatment?

Korban was in a high-speed motor vehicle head on collision on April 30th near Greymouth.  He was travelling with his friend and his friend’s Nana, coming home after buying takeaways for tea, when another driver crossed the centre line and crashed into them. He was helicoptered to Christchurch Emergency Department straight from the crash scene. Once in Christchurch he had emergency surgery to repair his bowels and intestines and was in an induced coma for six days. On day three he had more surgery to repair his broken arms.  On day five his lung collapsed, and a drain was inserted. On day seven, he was moved out of ICU and into high care for a week.  After that he spent three weeks in A7 (the Paediatric medical ward) before being transferred to Greymouth Hospital.  Other injuries he sustained included a fractured back with ligament damage, lacerations to all internal organs, a fractured eye socket, concussion, broken ribs and a split diaphragm.


What was your experience with RMHSI Family Room in Christchurch Hospital?

We stayed in the rooms next to ward A7.  This meant that in the initial weeks one of us could always be with Korb.  We slept in shifts.  Later when he moved to the ward it was amazing to have a place to shower and keep our stuff, and we continued to take turns sleeping there.


What made the Family Room such a special place for you?

We were so well cared for there; the girls were always so kind, caring and respectful. We felt like we had a place we belonged. There was always food available, and the bed was incredibly comfortable; I was really surprised by how quiet the room was and that meals were provided. It was amazing to have some family visit in the lounge rather than crowd into Korban’s hospital room.


Can you sum up your experience with RMHSI?

The Family Room was a comfortable, dependable and supportive respite for us. The staff were lovely and really cared about Korban and his progress; we felt so looked after at a time we really needed it. We are very grateful.


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