This McHappy Day is a special one for Bundaberg's George Young who spent 79 nights in the Ronald McDonald House after discovering a tumour the size of a tennis ball in his brain.
A happy-go-lucky, soccer-loving high school student with plans to become an engineer, George's life was suddenly and drastically altered following the diagnosis earlier this year.
During a visit to see his dad in Tasmania over the summer school holidays, the 15-year-old experienced headaches and a loss of balance that gave his family cause for concern.
Mum Cathy Galea said upon his return to Bundaberg, things became increasingly worse.
“While he was in Tasmania he blacked out twice and when he came home, his headaches were really bad,” she said.
“We had appointment after appointment to try to figure out what was wrong.”
After an MRI scan Cathy said she was told George had a 5.4 cm by 4.3 cm tumour on his brain.
“The doctor teared up alongside me and asked, ‘would you like me to tell George or would you like to?',” she said.
“We both gave him the news and the first thing he said was, ‘Mum, am I going to die?'.”
While waiting for the Royal Flying Doctor Service flight to Brisbane, George's condition worsened as it was discovered he had contracted Covid.
“That night he deteriorated quite rapidly,” Cathy said.
“He couldn't remember who I was, who his brother was or that he was in Bundaberg.”
Support provided to George by Ronald McDonald House
George was immediately flown to Queensland Children’s Hospital for treatment and Ronald McDonald House stepped in to provide support.
“Accommodation was the furthest thing from my mind at that point,” Cathy said.
“Ronald McDonald House stepped in and took care of everything – from food to general support.
“We would not have survived this journey if it wasn't for their assistance.”
George had the tumour successfully removed and after a rollercoaster of events and 79 nights at the Ronald McDonald House, he was sent home to continue his recovery in Bundaberg.
“There were a few bumps along the way; George got appendicitis and deteriorated further,” Cathy said.
“He lost his speech and mobility due to complications and there was some memory loss as well.
“Now, George is back home and is almost completely recovered.
“He is pretty much physically back to where he was before his tumour and he regained his speech and memory.
“He just has to catch up on a lot of schooling that he missed, but still has plans to become an engineer, which I truly believe will happen – just a bit later than what he had hoped.”
Cathy said George had also recently been given the all clear to starting playing soccer again.
She said she was thankful for the Ronald McDonald House, doctors, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and everyone else involved in his journey.
“Kids are so resilient, I honestly don't think an adult could have handled it the way that George did,” Cathy said.
“I am okay because he is okay, and we have so many people to thank for that.
“We wouldn't be where we are if it wasn't for these great organisations.”
About McHappy Day and Ronald McDonald House
McHappy Day is the largest annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and will take place on Saturday 19 November.
It raises much needed funds to help seriously ill or injured children, just like George, and their families stay together and close to the care they need while undergoing treatment or surgery in hospital.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia Chief Executive Officer Barbara Ryan said the organisation was beyond grateful to those who had already shown their support.
“Ronald McDonald House Charities supports over 46,000 seriously ill or injured children and their families every year,” she said.
“The funds raised will go towards continuing to support families when they need it most, including providing a home away from home when their seriously ill or injured child is receiving treatment.”
You can support McHappy Day by:
- Picking up a pair of $5 Silly Socks or Helping Hands for $2, $10 or $50 from Macca’s restaurants nationwide or via McDelivery
- Buying a Big Mac on McHappy Day from McDonald’s restaurants or via McDelivery, with $2 from every Big Mac sold going directly to RMHC
Making a donation online by visiting www.rmhc.org.au/give
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