WEST FIFE communities have rallied to help a mum give back to a charity that helped her when she needed it most.

Louise McKay, 31, is originally from Dunfermline and grew up in Rosyth so she knew that the kind and generous West Fife communities would be able to help when she heard that Ronald McDonald House in Edinburgh was desperate for donations.

Louise told the Press: “I just really wanted to give back. They did so much for us, I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. If I can take in a few boxes of toiletries to help some families in need, then I’ll do it.”

When she was told her son, Bailey, would be born with Hydrocephalus, she faced a devastating diagnosis and after a difficult pregnancy and birth, Bailey was born prematurely and had to have brain surgery when he was just 10-days-old.

During this difficult time, they stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Edinburgh.

She said: “I was pregnant with Bailey, and at 16 weeks we went to a private gender scan. We found out we were having a little boy but they picked up an abnormality in his head. They told us we were to get it checked out on the NHS.

“Luckily, the next day we were to go in and get a scan. They confirmed he had been diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid on the brain).

“The outcomes were, he may not survive birth, he could be severely disabled, he might not be able to walk, talk, see or hear. It was all of those negatives but when we went to the Sick Kids in Edinburgh and met their neuro team, they gave us a broader range of outcomes. They gave the positives, the negatives and the in-betweens.

“I had weekly scans to check on Bailey’s head but, by 31 weeks, we went to the Royal Infirmary and they said it would be better if he was born early.”

Louise was admitted for a planned c-section and Bailey was born at just 32 weeks.

“I ended up having a neurological episode myself. With the stress and anxiety through my pregnancy and having a c-section which I had never had before, I forgot how to walk.

“I couldn’t move my legs, they were numb for two days after my c-section and I was pretty much bedbound. I gradually strengthened up and I learned how to walk again and use the stairs. It was a surreal experience.”

While Louise was learning how to walk again, Bailey was having brain surgery as doctors fitted him with a shunt to drain the fluid on his brain.

They were facing a long hospital stay for Bailey, and travelling to and from Fife would have made it much harder for the family.

She continued: “The neonatal unit actually contacted the Ronald McDonald House at the Sick Kids and asked if there was a room available for us. They got back to us the very same day and said yeah we do, just come along and you can have the room today and stay as long as you want.”

At the Ronald McDonald House, guests have access to free food and toiletries. Louise and her family were able to benefit from this and she knows first-hand just how much this helps.

To get as many toiletries as she can for the charity that helped her when she needed it most, she put out public appeals on Facebook. She reached out to community groups in Duloch, Rosyth and Levenmouth, where she now lives, and has had an incredible response.

Bailey has been doing great since he left the Sick Kids, he is thriving at home with his mum and his dad, Kevin Smith, big brother Jack and his big sisters, Rosie and Kaitlyn.

Louise continued: “They can’t tell us what life is going to be like and that’s quite scary. I like to be quite organised with things and I like to know what’s happening but I don’t know. I find comfort in thinking, it’s Bailey’s journey, we’re on his journey and we’re behind him no matter what.

“I could sit and feel sorry for myself, be a bit doom and gloom about it but life’s too short. He’s here and he’s doing really well and he’s doing everything that he’s supposed to be doing.

“It’s just nice to look at him and feel at ease knowing he’s home and he’s doing well. That’s all I can ask for.”

To help Louise give back to the Ronald McDonald House in Edinburgh, email her at louise_mckay@hotmail.co.uk. A deadline of October 26 has been set but Louise is happy to accommodate donations after this date too.