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The manager of Ronald House in Malaga, with some of the children who are currently living there during their treatment. Cristina Pinto
The peaceful haven in Malaga for families who have children undergoing treatment at a city hospital
Health

The peaceful haven in Malaga for families who have children undergoing treatment at a city hospital

The Ronald McDonald foundation project, A Home Away From Home, offers free lodging to 14 families in a property just 250 metres from the Hospital Materno Infantil

Cristina Pinto

Malaga

Monday, 10 June 2024, 18:35

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A property just 250 metres away from the Hospital Materno Infantil in Malaga city is not what it seems: it is a home to 14 families as they temporarily live close by while the children undergo treatment.

The house belongs to the Fundación (foundation) Ronald McDonald and its close proximity to the hospital gives peace of mind to the parents who live there as their loved ones undergo treatment for cancer and other illnesses.

Running the home-refuge is Belén Collantes, who works her heart and soul out every day with the families who spend such difficult moments of their lives there: "We see each other every day and in the end they are part of me... It is a joy when they are discharged, although we always have mixed feelings because we miss them. This is an immense joy because in 90% of the cases the treatments go well and we see how the children return to their homes," she told SUR.

Casa Ronald Málaga is special in each of its aspects. On the one hand, the great financial help: "They stay here for free and, above all, as things are now with the rents in Malaga, it would be crazy. I remember a mother telling us that being here gave her dignity because she could be close to her baby and not have to come and go every day by car. Many even tell us that they sleep in the cars," Collantes pointed out.

Emotional support

Emotional support is also the great strength of this home. "We are very close to them (the children) and the facilities also make the families feel like they are part of our family," Collantes said. About the parents she said: "It is important that they are with their children throughout the recovery process, always hand in hand with the doctors".

La Casa, located in Arroyo de los Ángeles, has rooms for 14 families. Here, the manager, Belén Collantes, in the main courtyard.
La Casa, located in Arroyo de los Ángeles, has rooms for 14 families. Here, the manager, Belén Collantes, in the main courtyard. Cristina Pinto

Hallways with animals and details in every corner of the house invite play and fun. There is also the wish board which is more heartfelt than anything else with messages such as: "I wish everyone who reads this message good health and a big smile" or "most of the important things in the world have been achieved by people who kept trying when hope seemed lost". These words are part of the reasons why Belén Collantes and her team work every day with motivation to help families in need: "In addition to the volunteers, without them we would not be able to move forward because they help us to set up the workshops and activities, but they also help to keep the house in order. Even on social media, from which we try to build more visibility," Collantes said.

Visibility and support is what they want from the project of the Ronald McDonald Foundation, which in Malaga has the support of the provincial authority and LaCaixa Foundation for the project: A Home Away From Home.

They raise funds with events they organise themselves such as a golf tournament last Saturday 8 June at the Real Club de Golf Las Brisas. There are also other ways of collaboration such as becoming a member of Ronald House for one euro per month from their website; with the account number ES26 2103 0146 9300 3000 2000 or Bizum 00903. In Malaga they are also in charge of the running a charity shop, with details available on their website https://fundacionronald.org.

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