Mum shares story of son’s health drama

Colac mother Kerry Fennell with Colac College captains Brittnee Colbourne and Carla McKenzie.

COLAC’S Kerry Fennell knows finding accommodation is the last thing parents want to worry about when their child is in hospital.

Mrs Fennell and her family stayed in Melbourne’s Ronald McDonald House while her son Harrison could have surgery for a congenital left-sided hypoplastic heart condition. The condition means one side of Harrison’s heart is severely underdeveloped.

Mrs Fennell spoke to Harrison’s fellow Colac Secondary College students ahead of the school’s fundraising event for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“My son’s had open-heart surgery and we’ve spent a lot of time at the house,” she told the Colac Herald.

“For anyone who lives in rural areas, specialist care is always very far away so it’s nice not to have to find accommodation or sleep in your car,” she said.

“It’s taken the stress out of it and you’re already stressed with a sick kid, without having to worry about accommodation.”

The houses serve as a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill children.

Mrs Fennell praised the students’ “magnificent” gesture to raise money for the charity.

“I think something like one in eight people will use it or be closely related to someone who does,” she said.

“We will probably use it again next year, he’s having another operation.”

College co-captain Brittnee Colbourne said yesterday’s talk put the school’s casual-day fundraising efforts into context.

“It’s a great cause and it’s for kids to be aware and appreciate how lucky we are,” Brittnee said.

“We hope to make it a regular occurrence to raise money for something every year,” she said.

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