Published: 05:00, 25 December 2021
A family who have been raising toiletry donations for a charity which helped them out while their daughter was ill in hospital say they have been overwhelmed by support.
The Ashton-Jones, of Gravesend, delivered items they have been sent as part of a Christmas appeal for the Ronald McDonald House (RMH).
The charity supported them for just over two weeks while their daughter was admitted to hospital.
RMH has 12 houses across the UK to give families a place to rest, eat and relax but still remain as close as possible to their child’s hospital bed.
Stephanie, 30, said: “It was a lot. I did not realise until we were taking them out of the van and there was just more and more.
"We had far more than last year.
“I could not even begin to count the donations. I do not know how to top it next year.”
The family decided last year to raise donations for the house after seeing an appeal from the charity and this year went public in the hope to raise more.
They asked for toiletries, stationary and boxes of biscuits and sweets as Stephanie explained that these are the last things she thought of when her daughter Grace was being blue-lighted to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.
Stephanie added they had just under 40 boxes of biscuits donated for the current 31 rooms that are available.
The family also pre-paid for another family's stay in one of the rooms.
She said: "Some people do not have that £25 immediately. Some people may not take their wallet and I wanted to help remove that extra worry.
“I want to give another family the same experience I had there.”
"I could not even begin to count the donations. I do not know how to top it next year"
Richard Francis, house manager at Evelina London House, said: “When your child is suddenly in hospital, nothing else matters.
“Most of the parents that come through our doors arrive with the clothes on their back and a mobile phone, but thanks to amazing supporters like Stephanie, a parent can use the donated toiletries to freshen up, rinse off the hospital smell and take a moment to recover before heading back to the children’s ward.
“It is gestures like this that make their journey with us so much easier and to feel that someone is looking after them, so they can look after their child.”
The Ashton-Jones delivered the gifts on December 4 to the house.