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154 %
raised of £6,000 target
by 100 supporters
Jonathan McGowan avatar
Jonathan McGowan

Taking on Madagascar!

I'm cycling across Madagascar for Ronald McDonald House Charities because i want to raise money for a fantastic charity!

154 %
raised of £6,000 target
by 100 supporters
  • Event: RMHC Madagascar Cycle 2016, 03 Nov 2016 to 12 Nov 2016

Ronald McDonald House Charities

We provide free accommodation for families to keep them close to their sick child

Charity Registration No. England and Wales (802047) and in Scotland (SC0407


In October 2014 my 6 year old son George came home from school with a rash and a severely swollen knee.  My wife Sarah and I did the usual glass test and the rash remained, we quickly bundled George & his 4 year old sister Sophie into the car to Arrowe Park Hospital.   We were quickly moved from A & E to Pediatrics, where a fantastic nurse suspected George's condition immediately as Henoch-Schonlein Purpura a rare condition varying in intensity. George's journey started off with an overnight at Arrowe Park with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine which took down the swelling & he bounced right back.  He was discharged but with the caveat that it may come and go over the next month.  Unfortunately the following week I got the dreaded call whilst away with work telling me to rush home as George had a turn for the worse and was back in hospital. 

The sight that greeted me was shocking, he was doubled with tummy pain and his elbows and face were swollen.  We had a number of Doctors and Surgeons visit us over the next 8 hours with their faces growing ever more serious.  After a number of ultrasounds he was diagnosed with an Intussusception in his gut which was blocking his bowel and causing internal bleeding. The team at Arrowe Park decided to refer him to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.  Sarah and George were rushed across in an Ambulance with Sophie and myself following.  George was given Morphine & slept whilst I settled down in the pull up bed next to him and the girls reluctantly drove home.  He was woken every 3 hours for vitals and medication and continued to deteriorate through the night.  Next morning we spoke with the Surgeon who was considering operating on George's bowel, at this point the nurse informed us she'd put our name down for 'McHouse' (as the locals call it).  That night a room came up.  Instead of the hour long schlep through traffic the girls could sleep at Ronald McDonald House Alder Hey.  Our routine started to develop as I would do the night shift, and Sarah and Sophie sitting with George in the day as I tried to pinch a couple of hours sleep.  After 5 days of various cocktails of Morphine and Lithium George started to show signs of his old self, taking an interest in Lego and Star Wars as any 6 year old boy would. 

We spent 7 nights at RMH Alder Hey in total, crucially it kept our family together maintaining some kind of normal for George and Sophie, allowing us to be close when George needed us most.  For that I will be forever grateful to the charity.

So, now is my time to give back, I volunteer at my local House at Arrowe Park Hospital - a small 7 en-suite bedroom house helping parents with Premature babies from 24 weeks, and other sick children, and this November I'm going to do something I'd never dream of.  I'm cycling 500km across Madagascar raising funds for RMHC.  I've paid for my own trip so any money you donate goes straight to this fantastic cause.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

Jonathan, Sarah, George & Sophie. xxx

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