Parramatta Eels players hand delivered 94 new beds to the Ronald McDonald House at Westmead today.
‘‘We’re just here to help. The families that stay here and the staff, they are the real people that deserve the accolades.’’Eels player Ben Smith
The special delivery saw Tim Mannah, Ben Smith, Darcy Lussick and Joseph Paulo help to unload mattresses from 10am, to help ensure the comfort of seriously ill children and their families while staying at the Westmead facility.
‘‘We’re just here to help,’’ Ben Smith told the Sun. ‘‘The families that stay here and the staff, they are the real people that deserve the accolades.’’
One young resident, 10-year-old Sam Carroll, of Grafton, who is in Sydney for the treatment of a tumour in the bone behind his ear, said he was looking forward to sleeping on one of the new beds.
‘‘I’m really excited,’’ Sam said. ‘‘I like it here a lot.’’
Mum Angella Carroll described the initiative as ‘‘amazing’’ and the Westmead facility as indispensable.
‘‘To see everybody rallied together, it’s such an amazing thing,’’ Ms Carroll said.
‘‘If something like this wasn’t here, I don’t know how we would have coped. They say it’s a home away from home - and it really is. We’ve been blessed to be able to stay here.’’
Eels ticketing and membership officer Lauren Ellis, 25, said the club has a partnership with the Redbank Road house, which provides a home away from home for families while they stay in Sydney to access specialist medical care.
‘‘I think it’s important for these families to have some comfort,’’ Ms Ellis said.
Under 20s Eels halfback Mark Daoud, 19, of North Rocks, said it was great to visit the facility to see with his own eyes ‘‘what we’re doing it for’’.
‘‘It’s awesome,’’ said Daoud, who is also a media intern with the club. ‘‘It’s almost like a five-star hotel, they’re really taking care of them here.’’
Ronald McDonald House Westmead executive officer Mike Thomas said 23 families were currently staying at the facility, who would immediately benefit from the donated beds.
‘‘They’re mainly from rural and regional NSW, then the next major component would be from the rest of Australia, because Westmead is a specialist treatment area for children.
‘‘We also have an agreement with the New Caledonian government, so we often have a number of French families staying because they can’t get the treatment where they live.’’
Mr Thomas said the facility relied on over 120 volunteers who come in ‘‘day in, day out’’ to help.
We‘‘ are looking to double our volunteers, we’re particularly looking for people from the Parramatta and Holroyd areas who want to come and volunteer. The volunteers who come here, it changes their lives.’’
The donation delivery, from Sealy, also involved staff from AMP and Coca-Cola Amatil.