Parents who used a Ronald McDonald House when their children were seriously ill have urged the public to support Phil Drowley, who is raising funds for the facilities.
The 46-year-old hopes to become one of 230 climbers to scale the highest mountains in all seven continents when he tackles 15,629-foot Carstenz Pyramid in Australasia.
After he leaves on Saturday, he will trek through the jungle for a week to reach the foot of the mountain and then cross from one of its peaks to the other via a Tyrolean rope.
He is raising money for Ronald McDonald House Isle of Man Families and Friends via www.JustGiving.com/PhilDrowley
The charity was formed by Port St Mary couple Andy and Alison Kelly who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House adjacent to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital when their daughter Freya was seriously ill. She died of a congenital heart condition aged nearly two.
Sara and Julian Lalor-Smith, of Foxdale, were at Ronald McDonald House for three months while their youngest son, Mark, was in Alder Hey. Mark faced 19 operations after he was hit by a car during a holiday to Turkey in June.
‘Having a place to stay just minutes from the hospital was incredibly important. It allowed us to try and sleep while being able to go to Mark’s bed side at a moment’s notice when he needed emergency surgery.
‘It was also critically important when Mark was allowed out from his ward because we had a home, in the flat we were provided with, where we could encourage Mark to eat and return to a semblance of normal family life, especially when the twins visited.
‘We have thought many times about what we would have done without this fantastic facility. A hotel down the road, the closest option, would have cost us a fortune and its distance would have made being on call to make decisions about Mark’s immediate treatment impossible.’
Daphne and Chris Caine, from Maughold had a five-week stay at Ronald McDonald House after they were told their son Joshua, four, had a tumour in his neck vertebra that could either kill him or mean he was paralysed from the neck down.
‘We were instantly accommodated at Ronald McDonald House, too shell-shocked to fully appreciate it. Weeks of tests and biopsies followed and we were extremely thankful: mother, father and baby sister living in a home from home, free of charge,’ she said.
‘We shopped, cooked, ate, slept, chewed our finger nails, did the laundry. Ronald McDonald House was like a big hug, a warm place to go after the ward, somewhere to digest shocking news and medical updates, with our own fridge and freezer, cupboard and hob.
‘The most valuable thing was talking to other parents, some also from the island, going through traumatic journeys of their own. It comforted us and distracted us from our own stresses.’
Joshua is now doing well after 12 months on chemotherapy.