Ronald McDonald House Charities Central West – Who’s Eligible?

Ronald McDonald House Charities Central West – Who’s Eligible? Image supplied: Ronald McDonald House – Gabe McNamara and Aaron Buckley with baby William in Orange Hospital

WHEN Gabe McNamara from Clear Creek near Bathurst stepped back from volunteering at RMHC Central West to focus on her pregnancy, she could not possibly forsee that within a year her family would be using the facilities at the house in Orange.

“Everything was going fine with my pregnancy – I was low risk,” said Gabe.

“But then all that suddenly changed and I had to come to Orange to give birth to William,” she said.

Gabe, like scores of other women from the central west, have found themselves giving birth to their baby in Orange Hospital.

This is due to the lack of specialist obstetric services in towns across the Central West and the centralising of services to Orange Hospital.

“When I was volunteering, Aaron didn’t have the opportunity to see the house, and so when I had William in Orange, one of the nurses suggested he should stay so he was closer to William and I.

“He is just full of praise about the house, the modern facilities and what it has to offer families,” she said.

“I never thought we would find ourselves in a position to use Ronald McDonald House, but that is the case with most families,” she said.

Since RMHC Central West opened its doors, the numbers of women staying at the house after been diagnosed as experiencing a high risk pregnancy, has increased exponentially.

While some women come to Orange under emergency circumstances such as Gabe, for many others their stay is planned.  After being identified as a high-risk pregnancy, mothers-to-be stay for weeks or even months at RMHC Central West so they can be closely monitored by the specialist team at Orange Hospital.

Families who stay at the house in Orange find themselves free of the burden of having to pay for accommodation for days, weeks or even months so they can focus on their child in hospital. Each room sleeps up to 6 people.

As well, families are provided with toiletries in their room, complimentary breakfasts, emergency meals, detergent and laundry facilities, and grocery items for self-catering for longer stays.

Each new mum is presented with a beautiful gift bag of new baby clothes, items for baby, plush toys and items such as hand-crafted cot blankets and pram covers.

RMHC Central West is run by two full-time staff, one part-time employee and a fantastic volunteer team of around 100 who are part of a 24-hour, 365 day roster.

Please see the eligibility flow chart below or if you need further information about staying at Ronald McDonald House Central West in Orange, please call 02 6363 1960 or email:

This article was written by Janice Harris for Ronald McDonald House Charities.