10 March 2023

Local business leaders embrace Ronald McDonald House visit

| Jarryd Rowley
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Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga executive officer Lisa Simpson, Smallmon Brothers Waste CEO Nigel Smallmon, Region Riverina Commercial Manager and Wagga TV CEO Adam Drummond, Ron Crouch Transport COO Peter Braneley, Murrumbidgee and Southern Local Health Districts CRO Jen Spain and senior manager of communications at AgriFutures Australia Jennifer Galloway. Photo: Supplied.

Six Riverina business leaders took part in the Ronald McDonald House CEO Walk In My Shoes charity event last week, after raising more than $17,000 for families facing medical hardship.

The company executives spent 24 hours supporting volunteers by cooking and cleaning for families staying at Wagga’s Ronald McDonald House.

Ron Crouch Transport CEO Peter Braneley said the event provided insight into some of the challenges faced by families with sick kids.

“Across the 24 hours, we helped with meal prep, general maintenance and provided any kind of support that we could,” Mr Braneley said.

“There were two families staying at the house while we were there.

“A lot of their stories were extremely powerful, especially those about young children who are having such a difficult time medically.”

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Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga chief executive Lisa Simpson said she was thrilled by the business leaders’ availability and the charity event’s reception.

“It was the first time that we have ever held the CEO Walk in My Shoes event in Wagga Wagga and we were delighted by the results,” Ms Simpson said.

“The six executives involved all really took it in their stride and made the most of the 24 hours that they spent at the house.”

She said that as well as helping out with the cooking, cleaning, and speaking with families, they were given a taste of what it’s like when life is turned upside down.

“During the night, they experienced a simulated version of what it would be like for families to make an emergency trip to the hospital, and the chaos that comes with that,” she explained.

men cooking

Wagga CEOs cooked and cleaned and got a taste of life for families and volunteers at Wagga’s Ronald McDonald House. Photo: Adam Drummond.

Mr Braneley said it was a privilege to support the volunteers in Wagga and to see what they do to help relieve the pressures on people who are doing it tough.

“Once I did get home and spend time reflecting on the experience, I was quite moved,” Mr Braneley said.

“These families have been dealt such a rough hand but they continue to battle and stay strong.”

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Ms Simpson said it was important for Ronald McDonald House to hold fundraising events to enable local families to continue using the facilities.

“Families don’t pay for accommodation while in the house, so it’s important that we raise about 65 per cent of our running costs through local community donations,” Ms Simpson said.

“The funds raised by those who participated in last week’s event have just ticked over $17,000, which covers the costs of about 106 nights’ worth of visits.

“We (Ronald McDonald House Wagga Wagga) are so pleased with the results of the event and will look to do it again, whether that be next year or in the near future.”

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