First they received, now they’re giving back - STORIES FROM THE HEART OF ORANGE
Ronald McDonald House Orange has given two deserving young women a helping hand as they embark on their chosen career paths.
At a special ceremony on Monday morning, Erin Hewett and Felicity Horwood were both presented with $2,500 from the Charlie Bell Scholarship — named in honour of former McDonald’s Corporation CEO Charlie Bell who rose through the ranks of the organisation from a crew member in 1976 to become president and Chief Executive Officer of the McDonald’s Corporation at the age of just 43.
For Erin and Felicity, who just completed Year 12 last year, the money will assist them as they embark on further studies.
Erin is undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University in Orange, while Felicity is fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a zoo keeper, starting a Certificate III in Captive Animals with Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Besides the welcome financial help, the two young women know well the good work of Ronald McDonald House Orange, a place both have spent significant time in past years.
Felicity, who is from Parkes, spent months in Orange Hospital back in 2016 and Ronald McDonald House gave her and her family a much-needed home during a difficult time.
“Ronald McDonald House was a godsend,” said Felicity’s father David. “We didn’t realise Felicity was going to have to stay longer than what we thought would be a standard consultation. They filled in the gaps with emergency supplies, all your living away from home stuff… they really made us feel at home and in a time of need it definitely did its job.”
Erin and her family had two extended stays in Orange — away from their home in Temora —when her twin sister Megan was being treated at the hospital.
“That was very difficult. It was for six months here and previously we had done five-and-a-half months in Orange but the house wasn’t open yet,” said Erin. “Having this house meant we could actually have sit-down family dinners; it wasn’t just making do with take away. It meant we could eat properly and have a normal— well, the most normal family time we could. It meant that I could stay here for extended periods of time when I didn't have school or I could get my school work sent up here. It’s the small comforts and differences that this place makes - it's amazing.”
The time Erin spent in and around hospitals has actually inspired her own career path.
“I've had a lot of experience in seeing what an amazing nurse can do and the changes and the impact it has on people's experience in hospital. Also, I’ve seen those who don't have as much care and compassion,” said Erin
“It’s made me eager to make people's experiences in hospitals, not pleasant, but better. I just have a strong passion and have done for a long time.”