We’d like to wish a very happy wedding day to our Rochdale Business Centre Manager, Chris O’Connor, who will be using his big day to raise funds for a very poignant charity. All the best Chris, Emma and family!
Forget writing a gift list, one of our business centre managers is using his wedding to say thank you to a charity close to his heart.
Chris O’Connor, who has worked as the Business Centre Manager at BizSpace Rochdale-Fieldhouse for almost three years, is celebrating his marriage to his wife Emma with a wedding reception at Norden Cricket Club in Rochdale this weekend (Sat Feb 25). The couple have already married in a ceremony in Scotland but wanted to share the occasion with family and friends in England.
However, instead of asking guests to buy them wedding presents, Chris and Emma have requested donations to the Ronald McDonald House Charity. This good cause is very important to them as it allowed them to stay in accommodation at Central Manchester Children’s Hospital when their daughter Evie fell ill in 2014.
Chris and Emma are hoping to reach their fundraising target of £975, which would cover the cost of their month-long stay at a Ronald McDonald House.
Evie first fell ill just before her second birthday when she started experiencing problems with her breathing. Her parents took her to Oldham Hospital where she was put into a medically-induced coma and transferred to Central Manchester Children’s Hospital (CMCH) for specialist care.
However, the hospital was a 45-minute drive from the family’s home and Emma was heavily pregnant with Evie’s younger sister, Sophie.
Chris says: “On arriving at CMCH we were told Evie was very poorly and required extensive treatment as her lungs were trapping air and her body could not breathe on its own. We were also told that Evie had a rare virus in her lungs and a bug in her blood which needed treating.
“Over the course of the next few weeks during her treatment, Evie battled a blood clot and had two seizures which resulted in her having CPR, which has caused a small scar on her brain.”
After two weeks in intensive care, Evie began breathing on her own on her second birthday. She then needed help to learn to walk and talk again as well as further treatment.
During this stressful period, Emma gave birth to Sophie and two weeks after her little sister’s birth, Evie was allowed home and the siblings met for the first time.
Emma says: “Without Ronald McDonald House, either Chris or I would have had to be away from Evie because new-born babies are not allowed in the intensive care unit. Obviously, neither of us wanted this as we were unsure if Evie was going to pull through and we both wanted to be there in case the worst happened.
“Having this place to stay next door to the hospital meant that we could take turns at being with Evie and being with Sophie so that neither child had to miss out on their parents. We were already on an emotional rollercoaster and if we had to leave Evie in the hospital a 45-minute drive away from our home, I really don’t think we would have coped.”
Now Evie is getting ready to celebrate her fifth birthday this year and although she still takes daily medication and is monitored regularly, she is thriving.
Chris says the response from family and friends to their fundraising efforts has been very positive.
He adds: “Not many people realise what Ronald McDonald House is and we want to raise awareness of this invaluable charity as it kept our family close when we needed it the most, as it has done for thousands of families before us and hopefully will continue to do so for many more families after us.
“Since we came back from the hospital in 2014, we have always talked about fundraising for RMCH but needed something on a large scale to do this as we wanted to repay for the month we stayed. With us not getting married in England we decided that as we had a large network of friends and a large family it would give us the opportunity to give something back.”
Anyone wanting to help Chris and Emma’s fundraising efforts can donate via their JustGiving page.
The Fieldhouse Industrial Estate where Chris is Business Centre Manager includes more than 70 business units, including workshops, studios, offices and storage space. Based in North Rochdale, customers benefit from 24-hour security, ample parking and an onsite café and crèche.