Stacey and Elaina’s Story

Over 400km from Perth, in WA’s Midwest Region is the town of Geraldton. In December 2021, Stacey took her daughter Elaina to their local hospital in Geraldton as she had concerns about Elaina’s excessive bruising.

It was a trip that would result in an unexpected emergency journey.

Bloods taken at the Geraldton Hospital showed that Elaina’s platelets (colourless blood cells that help blood clot) were extremely low.

Stacey and Elaina were flown to Perth by RFDS on the same night for further testing.

The next day, they were informed of Elaina’s diagnosis: High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leaukaemia.

As part of her treatment, Elaina was required to be within 60 minutes of Perth Children’s Hospital in case any problems occurred.

Since arriving to Perth via RFDS, Stacey and Elaina have been in the care of Ronald McDonald House Charities WA (RMHC WA) through their supported accommodation service.

“Finding out that Elaina had leukemia was hard enough without the added stress of having to find long-term accommodation and adjusting to our new way of life. I can’t thank Ronald McDonald House enough for providing not only accommodation, but cooked dinners for us,” says Stacey.

For over 270 nights the pair have called RMHC WA their home away from home while being far from friends, family and normality in Geraldton.

“I love that the House gives you the opportunity to meet other families who are going through similar situations to you, it helps being able to connect and talk about it with others who understand what you’re going through.”

“Being a single mum, it helps to have others around, so I don’t feel totally on my own, and Elaina has been able to make some friends to play with in the House,” Stacey says.

Elaina’s diagnosis has not stopped her from being her best, and cheekiest self! Stacey says Elaina’s superpower would be her ability to continue smiling and laughing every day.

Elaina Barnden“She’s always making everyone smile with her cheeky personality and I’m pretty sure she has caught the hearts of all the nurses on the ward and in the day clinic. I’m so proud that even though her body is going through a lot, she hasn’t lost her sparkle.”

For WA families like Stacey and Elaina, RMHC WA will always be there to provide care and support during difficult times.