More than 500 Portuguese and African families referenced by the São João Hospital Center and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) received help at Casa Ronald McDonald in Porto, which is five years old.
In its facilities located between those two hospitals in Porto, the house built by the foundation with the same name “supported more than 500 families from the districts of Viana do Castelo, Braga, Viseu, Aveiro and Vila Real”, but also from “African countries of Portuguese official language, “said manager Isabel Aragão
As their work is “free to support the families of children with oncological diseases”, referenced by the two hospital institutions, the “average length of stay is 37 days”, in a coexistence that in five years generated many stories and “bonds for life”, stressed the manager.
These gestures, she said, take place at all levels, citing the example of a Portuguese bioengineering student “who between the ages of eight and 10 was in a Ronald McDonald house in Baltimore, in the United States, and thought he should repay all the help he had, “becoming” a volunteer in Porto’s home and supporting other families. ”
From Africa there are stories of overcoming, such as the one that the house supports today: “At this moment we have Angolan trimmers who, having been born in Portugal for being a risky pregnancy” and returned to her country after the first six months of life, had to come back here with their parents for another two months of exams. ”
Isabel Aragão said that for another Mozambican family, the house was the place where “two brothers met, because the mother was pregnant with the second child when the eldest made treatments in Oporto due to cancer oncology and stayed here”, ending for knowing each other months later, “when mother and brother could join the eldest.”
Also treated as the “home away from home”, another Customs family of the Faith, who was in that space to accompany the son, materialized this designation by “moving later to Porto” and making weekly visits to the place to make a deal with whoever is in the house, “said the manager, for whom” the greatest tribute is the gratitude of those who pass by the house. ”
“This works more than a house, it functions as a family, creating bonds for life,” stressed Isabel Aragão.
With a kitchen, laundry and common usufruct spaces, the house promotes in parallel “initiatives developed by volunteers for the welfare of families,” appealing Isabel Aragão to the presence of “more companies with financial capacity in this project, in a support that does not have to be in money, but in material goods and services. ”
Citing a Social Impact Assessment study of the houses, the manager defended that “every euro donated to the two houses [existing in Portugal] generates a social value of 5.08 euros for the different partners (children, families, volunteers, patrons, partners hospital staff and the Ronald McDonald Children’s Foundation team).
The Ronald McDonald Houses in Porto and Lisbon, as well as the Ronald McDonald Family Space in Santa Maria Hospital, are currently the main projects of the foundation in Portugal.
To mark its fifth anniversary, Casa do Porto promotes the “Full Hand Conversations – When I was five years old” initiative at the Engenheiro António de Almeida Foundation on the 20th.