“My cousin, her baby was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when he was one,” Eva candidly shared.
“He’s eight now, he’s doing great, he’s thriving, he’s in remission, but those years of trying to figure out OK, where do we get care, and we have to fly here and fly there."
"[To then] uprooting your family [and] literally needing a home away from home and a support system."
"So the fact that this [Ronald McDonald House] provides that...it is invaluable really.”
Since McDonald’s first launched McHappy Day in Australia in 1991, the charity has helped raise essential funds for thousands of families.
There are now 18 Ronald McDonald houses nationally, with the charity caring for more than 46,000 families every year.
The cornerstone of the program is the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a ‘home away from home for families of seriously ill and injured children being treated at nearby hospitals.
It’s a charity close to Eva’s heart, especially following the birth of her two daughters Esmeralda and Amada who are now eight and six.
When offered the opportunity to participate in McHappy day in person this year, rather than virtually, Eva jumped at the opportunity, telling WHO that participating online, “is not the same.”
There was one family she met in 2020 that she was looking forward to meeting this time around, siblings, who she has stayed in contact with since 2020.
“There’s a little boy and a little girl, they’re siblings, little Connor and his sister Lola, not only did I really connect with them via zoom, when I met them two years ago - I told my kids about them.”
Although Eva’s youngest child doesn't quite remember Connor and Lola, her eldest does.
“Every so often she’ll ask me about the kids and I say, ‘they’re good’ and I’ll send them an email and check on them,” she explained.
“I told my girls yesterday, I said, ‘I’m gonna go see them, I’m gonna see Connor and his sister Lola if you wanna write them a note.’”
“They wrote them this little note and it just melted my heart. Especially my older one who’s just turned eight, she wrote them a letter actually and then I get here, and I give it to them and Lola gives me not only a letter but two little gifts for my kids…I’m just like- it’s so beautiful. Just the love, the pure love of these kids.”
But it’s not an easy job, with Eva revealing that it's difficult to not get emotional during the eye-opening trip.
“I just have to remind myself that it’s not about me,” Eva told WHO.
“I have to really go, this is about them and I have to make them feel comfortable."
“If I’m crying and emotional, that’s not fair to them. So that kind of checks me a bit. But of course, especially now being a mother. It’s literally your worst nightmare – a sick child in any capacity and having to travel for treatment and care.”
How Australians can support this year’s McHappy Day fundraiser.
Buying a Big Mac from their local Macca’s or via McDelivery on McHappy Day, November 19, with $2 from every Big Mac sold going directly to RMHC.
Picking up a pair of $5 silly socks, or helping hands for $2m $10 or $50 from their local Macca's or via McDelivery.
Making a donation online by visiting www.rmhc.org.au/give