Geraldton girl Elaina Bowden turns three this month, which means she will have spent a third of her short life in and out of hospital in Perth battling a serious illness. But if there is one bright spot amid this ordeal for her family, it’s that they have been able to remain close together. Elaina was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia last year and had to move from her home in Geraldton to Perth to receive urgent treatment. Elaina’s mother Stacey Barnden said help from Ronald McDonald House Charities had been a saving grace since her daughter was diagnosed on December 21, 2021. With RMHC, they haven’t had to worry about accommodation while in Perth. With a smile that lights up the room, Elaina never ceases to amaze her mother with how strong and happy she is. Right now young Elaina is on the mend, but Ms Barnden said the first few months were terrifying and tough on the toddler. “She’s close to finishing her treatment and getting to come home. We’re hoping we can be home before Christmas, because last year we spent it in a ward,” she said. Ms Barnden said it meant the world to have somewhere to go after discovering your child had a serious illness, as it would be nearly impossible to find somewhere to live with the current market. “I honestly have no idea what I would have done if I had to find a house, especially with the way the rental prices are going,” she said. “The (RMHC) staff are great just to go down and have a chat with. Elaina goes into their office all the time and they’re always happy to play with her.” RMHC supports and accommodates seriously ill or injured children like Elaina and their families, helping them through some of the most challenging times in life. “It’s something I never expected would happen to my family,” Ms Barnden said. To give back to RMHC, Ms Barnden is urging people to get behind the annual McHappy Day, McDonald’s largest annual fundraiser for RMHC. The Geraldton community can show support to families like Ms Barnden’s by picking up a pair of Big Mac or French Fries-styled silly socks or helping hands from Macca’s until McHappy Day on Saturday, November 19. McHappy Day has raised more than $61 million for RMHC over the past 31 years. On McHappy Day, $2 from every Big Mac purchased will be donated to RMHC. RMHC Australia CEO Barbara Ryan urged people to buy silly socks or helping hands on their next Macca’s visit. “Funds raised will make a real difference to the lives of seriously ill children and their families across Australia, through helping to provide accommodation close to hospitals, a space for the family to come together, tutoring to help with missed schooling, and so much more,” she said.