House a home for the Park­ers

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By CAITLIN TILLER

TE­GAN Parker says her one-year-old son Cob­ber has spent half his life at the Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

Cob­ber was born with a con­gen­i­tal joint dis­or­der that re­quired treat­ment in­volv­ing more than 50 flights to and from hos­pi­tal from the Parker’s home in Ku­nunurra.

Ms Parker said her fam­ily would not have been able to af­ford med­i­cal treat­ment with­out the Su­bi­aco Ron­ald McDon­ald House Char­i­ties (RMHC).

“Some­times when the House has been full we’ve had to stay in ho­tels and it costs a lot of money,” she said.

“The first time we had to come down was the first time I had ever been in Perth and I was ab­so­lutely lost – we didn’t know how far away the hos­pi­tal was or any­thing.”

Ms Parker said Cob­ber, who was born pro­foundly deaf and had a con­di­tion called arthro­gry­po­sis, was four weeks old when she first stayed in RMHC.

“Hav­ing a place I knew I could come back to and have a meal was a god­send,” she said.

“You feel re­ally safe here, as well.”

Ms Parker said Cob­ber would have an op­er­a­tion at West­mead Hos­pi­tal in Syd­ney and fly back to Perth to spend four weeks at the House dur­ing his re­cov­ery and phys­io­ther­apy.

“We’ll do any­thing for Cob­ber to be able to walk. Ev­ery­body here is so sup­port­ive and go­ing through sim­i­lar things so if you burst into tears, it’s OK,” she said.

RMHC vol­un­teer Sara MacLaren-Kennedy said she spent nine hours a fort­night at the House.

“It’s a chance to spend time with kids be­cause my grand kids are over­seas and in­ter­state so I don’t see them very much,” Ms MacLaren-Kennedy said.

“There are such in­cred­i­ble peo­ple here and ev­ery­one is so en­er­getic and friendly.”

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Te­gan Parker with son Cob­ber.

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