A mum of three from Wokingham, whose teenage daughter spent six months in hospital for cancer treatment, has revealed the impact the cost of living is having on families with sick children.
Katie Baxter said while her daughter Holly was being treated for leukemia she could barely afford to eat.
Katie said: "When Holly was really poorly, and I was staying with her on the ward, the hospital coffee shops were so expensive. I was living off one sandwich a day, which would cost around £5.
"The price of everything is going up and my bills have tripled."
Ronald McDonald House Charities UK conducted an eight-week survey and found almost a quarter of families have skipped meals to help make ends meet.
The charity, which provides free 'home away from home' accommodation and support for families, found that 7 in 10 people reported their finances were negatively impacted by having a child in hospital.
Holly, 16, is now in remission, but since she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on 2 February 2022, Katie has spent a combined total of around six months staying at Ronald McDonald House Oxford.
Katie, who's also mum to Charis, 13, and Charlie, 12, doesn't know what she'd have done without the help of the charity.
She said: "Life's been tough, and the cost of living crisis has added to the immense pressure we've been under."
The eight-week survey of families who had stayed in a Ronald McDonald House within the last six months found:
Almost a quarter of families have skipped meals to help make ends meet
28% said they had gone cold to avoid using heating at home
More than 40% have asked family or friends to borrow money
58% have cut back on non-essential spending
Ella Joseph, Chief Executive of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: "At Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, we know that life costs more if your child is being treated in hospital, particularly when that treatment isn't close to home.
"But what's also become evident to us is that these same families are being hit particularly hard during the worst cost of living crisis we've experienced in years."
Last year, Ronald McDonald House Charities UK accommodated 6,600 families, saving them more than 10 million miles in travel.
The charity is now exploring ways to expand the support it offers families during these economically challenging times and is appealing to those who can, to help.
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