The Docker family gives back

For many supporters of The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Foundation, the connection is a deeply personal one. That’s certainly the case for Melinda and Andrew Docker, who began supporting the RCH Foundation’s Bed Sponsorship Program after witnessing firsthand the exceptional care given to their youngest son, Riley.

“Riley was admitted to RCH the day after he was born. He had a serious brain bleed and was rushed to the hospital after experiencing a seizure,” explained Melinda.

Riley spent four weeks on the Butterfly Ward, the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), being treated for hydrocephalus, a condition caused by a build up of fluid around the brain.

A temporary shunt was inserted into Riley’s brain to drain the fluid, and after four weeks on Butterfly, he was transferred to the Cockatoo Ward for two more weeks of care before finally being able to go home.

Riley at the RCH

Amongst the many challenges faced by the family in those first few weeks, both Andrew and Melinda recall the overwhelming support they received.

“Having to experience your newborn spending weeks in the NICU naturally creates indelible moments that stand out.

“But so do other experiences like the volunteers that offered to get us a cup of tea when we didn’t want to leave Riley’s side, the doctors that kept us up to date on his condition and provided a comforting voice when we needed it, and the nurses who advised us how to change a nappy, and how to hold and feed him through the labyrinth of medical machines and cords,” said Melinda.

Riley was back at the RCH a few months later for the insertion of a permanent shunt. Now, seven years on, he is just like any other child his age.

“Riley is quite a little character. He’s kind, caring, and loves school. His favourite thing is hanging out with his two older brothers, Jenson and Lewie. He also loves entertaining an audience with singing and dancing performances,” shared Melinda.

Riley now

After their experience at the hospital, the Docker family decided to give back, sponsoring beds on both Butterfly and Cockatoo, directly supporting the teams that helped Riley.

“It’s difficult to find a way to say thank you for something so immeasurable as your child’s life. When we learnt of the Bed Sponsorship Program, we knew that this was a means to do that in an ongoing and meaningful way,” said Melinda.

“We are fortunate enough to be able to offer this financial support which connects us to the families who find themselves experiencing similar hardships as we did. Supporting the RCH is a constant reminder to our family as to just how lucky we are with Riley,” she added.

Riley and his family

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