Ronald McDonald House 2nd home for familySave
By Danica MacLean
Words cannot express how grateful Waipu mother Rachel Carroll is to the Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.
''It's like they were my caregivers."
Miss Carroll's daughter, Trinity Carroll-Holroyd was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in October 2015.
Trinity, her mum and her mum's partner, David Callander, have lived at Ronald McDonald House on various occasions since then.
"It's like a second home to us now."
She said they are on first name basis with the staff, and they met people who they now consider friends.
Miss Carroll took Trinity to Whangarei Hospital after several visits to the doctor with complaints of headaches and erratic behaviour.
"I wasn't too sure what was wrong but I knew something wasn't right."
Trinity was about to be discharged, undiagnosed, when Miss Carroll "got grumpy" and demanded a second opinion.
After a CT scan, doctors told her Trinity had "something in her brain" and the pair flew to Starship.
Starship doctors said they believed it was tumour but would not know for sure until they operated.
Trinity was in surgery for six hours, where a tumour the size of an "overgrown walnut" was removed from the back of her head.
After Trinity was out of intensive care, she, her mum and Mr Callander lived at Ronald McDonald House until just before Christmas while Trinity underwent six weeks of radiation.
They celebrated Trinity's 12th birthday on December 12. Ronald McDonald House organised a cake and a gift, and allowed extra family members to come in to celebrate.
The family came back to Waipu for Christmas, before heading back to the House at the end of last January for three weeks.
They had another brief stint in Whangarei before living at the Ronald McDonald house from March until to July while Trinity received chemotherapy treatment.
"You would walk in and they would see you were a bit upset and they would give you a big hug and have a chat."
Miss Carroll said all the little things the staff did, took away all the other stress.
"When we were changing rooms, my hairbrush, razor and something else got misplaced, they just replaced it."
She said not having to go up to the supermarket to replace them meant she could stay close to Trinity.
Most recently they stayed in Ronald McDonald house in March, and are heading back in June.
Miss Carroll said they offered her massages, and took her for a pampering session.
Trinity, now 13, is in remission, but has three-monthly scans because of the aggressive nature of the tumour.
"I hold my breath every time I go for those scans," the teen says.
"We take each day as it comes, every day we've got with her is a blessing," her mum says.
The annual Ronald McDonald House appeal is on now. To make a $3 donation to Ronald McDonald House text 'FAMILY' to 4483, or go to www.rmhc.org.nz/donate.