Walking 210km for Ronald McDonald House

Rachael and Dave Brooky, pictured with baby Jonny and two-year-old Hugo, plan to walk 210km this month to give back to Ronald McDonald House.

Friday marked the start of a busy month for the Brookys.

The Cambridge family has pledged to walk, and maybe even run, 210km during the month of March – and that’s not counting day-to-day steps, but “proper walks” as Dave Brooky explained.

The challenge is set by Ronald McDonald House each year as one of its main fundraisers.

Because the organisation made “all the difference” for the Brookys when their son Jonny was born prematurely with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, staying at the Auckland house for five weeks while he grew a lung, they’ve decided to fundraise for the cost of their five-week stay.

During the month of March, the annual fundraiser prompts participants to walk or run 210km, representing the $210 it costs for one family to stay at Ronald McDonald House each night. The Brookys plan to raise $2100 in March, representing a ten-night stay, and in the long term plan to raise a total of seven thousand dollars to cover what it would have cost the charity to house them over five weeks.

“We’d like to give it a real push over the next few weeks,” said Dave. “They were just so awesome for us, we’d really like to do what we can for them.”

“Eventually we’d like to help the other organisations that helped us as well, like Starship, St John, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, there are a few that we owe!” said Rachael, who was flown to Starship Hospital when she unexpectedly went into labour on March 10 last year.

“They look after you so well. It’s an amazing set up and so good for families that aren’t home, and they can have their family members come and stay to support them too.”

“It makes you grateful that you’re not from Auckland, since they can’t stay there!” said Dave. “Being away from home really sucked, but it felt quite homely being there, you felt looked after.”

Best of all for the Brookys was being only a five-minute walk away from their son in ICU.

“That just made such a difference. It was hard enough leaving as it was, but you just felt like you were there with him the whole time, being so close.”

The family also plans on cooking dinner for the 120 occupants of Ronald McDonald House. The House provides breakfast and staple foods, but dinners are generally provided a couple nights a week by volunteers and charity organisations. Both Dave and Rachel said having a home cooked meal meant a lot for them during their stay.

“That’s something that we really appreciated,” said Dave. “So ideally we’d need help from the community with food donations if we’re going to be able to do it.”

The couple already have the logistics sorted, with friends and family on board to help cook on the night. To contribute food or donations towards the dinner, email dmbrooky@hotmail.com.

Donations towards the family’s March fundraising efforts – which are nearly half way there – can be made at housetohouse.everydayhero.com/nz/brooky. Every $10 donation goes into the draw to win a gift hamper and a Matai serving board hand crafted by Dave.

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