Dad inspired to dig deep by own son’s health battle
FOR WARWICK McDonald’s owner Trevor Burton, McHappy Day is more than just fundraising.
Ten years ago when his son Harry was in hospital with a form of auto-immune hepatitis, Mr Burton was lucky enough to stay in facilities similar to the iconic Ronald McDonald houses.
“He went in very close to not making it, and was in there for three months and we could just walk across the road to where he was,” Mr Burton said.
“I can’t imagine staying in a motel.
“It’s one of those things you don’t need until you do and my God, you really, really value it then."
And Mr Burton’s struggles are not unique.
In Warwick alone, 13 families sought refuge in a Ronald McDonald house last year.
Ten Stanthorpe families did the same, and a ‘considerable’ 14 per cent of Ronald McDonald families came from the Darling Downs region.
That’s why this year Mr Burton encouraged residents to continue to dig deep for the November 14 charity event, which raises money to provide a ‘home away from home’ for families of seriously ill and injured children being treated at nearby hospitals.
“In terms of statistics, McHappy Day means more to people from rural Australia even more than people from the city,” Mr Burton said.
“I’ve had people from Warwick come up on McHappy Day and say it’s always been their number one charity.
“We had a young mum whose child had leukaemia and she said she couldn’t have done it without Ronald McDonald House.”
While coronavirus means things such as face painting were out, Warwick residents can still pick up a pair of Silly Socks, buy Helping Hands or enjoy a Big Mac on McHappy Day.
Online donations can be made at www.rmhc.org.au/give
Mr Burton said the Warwick and Stanthorpe restaurants usually raised about $10,000 each year.
“Over the years, you look at community support and the Warwick and Stanthorpe communities are very generous and tight-knit,” he said.
“We would very much like to see that again this year.”
McHappy Day is the largest annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Australia, raising more than $51 million since its inception.
CEO of RMHC Australia Barbara Ryan said the fundraising was crucial to keeping the charity alive.
“The money raised by McDonald’s and its customers through this fundraiser supports programs such as the Ronald McDonald Houses, Family Rooms, Family Retreats and our national Learning Program, which make a real impact to the lives of families and children in their time of need,” she said.
There are currently 18 Houses throughout Australia, accommodating more than 10,000 families a year.