When all three of Jane Goldsmith’s children were treated at John Hunter Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after they were born, she and husband Neil Keene were fortunate enough to be by their bedside.
Living at Dudley, the NBN newsreader didn’t have to travel far to be with their son James, now seven, who spent a week in NICU with breathing complications, nor with twins Lucy and Elizabeth when they arrived seven weeks early in 2016.
But Goldsmith knows not everyone is that lucky.
While she and Keene sought refuge in the Ronald McDonald Family Room, they struck up many conversations with families that had travelled hundreds of kilometres to be with their sick children.
Most, like the Simpsons from Narrabri, were hosted by Ronald McDonald House on the hospital grounds so they could have 24/7 access to their son, Cohen, who was in hospital for six months around the time the twins were born.
“When you have a child who is sick or needing some extra help in the NICU, you want to be by their bedside, so Ronald McDonald House provides that for people who are a long way from home,” Goldsmith told Newcastle Weekly.
“And with the family room, you can be only one floor away – or, now, just next door [since the NICU family room opened in late 2017].”
To give back to the charity, Goldsmith will co-emcee one of its flagship fundraisers, the annual Raise Love Charity Ball, at NEX Wests City on Saturday 20 July.
She will be joined by Hit 106.9 breakfast radio presenter Nick Gill, whose family stayed at Ronald McDonald House Westmead when he and wife Georgette’s twins, Otis and Harriet, were born – Harriet with severe congenital heart disease.
It won’t be the first time Goldsmith has supported the organisation, having helped promote the Ride for Sick Kids in an NBN Television commercial last year.
“I’m happy to support anything to do with kids, health and hospitals, especially given how amazing the staff were to us, both in the NICU and the Ronald McDonald House volunteers,” she said.
The goal of this year’s Raise Love Charity Ball is to raise enough money to cover 1,611 nights’ accommodation for families with sick or injured children.
Tickets are still available. Go to rmhnnsw.org.au/raise-love