To celebrate Children’s Hospice Week (May 11th-17th), two families have shared how care and support at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice has helped them through very difficult times; always ‘making every moment count.’
The national week focuses on how important it is to make every moment count for children with complex medical needs and shortened life expectancy supported by Bluebell Wood in North Anston.
Two-year-old Dougie Atkinson of Chesterfield has an undiagnosed neurological condition. His parents Beth and Antony were first told there might be complications with Dougie when Beth was 33 weeks pregnant.
Once he was born, they found out that those complications were neurological, though not enough was known for Dougie to be diagnosed.
Beth says of the time: “We were told it was unlikely that he would live. We had such a huge mix of feelings. We were, and still are, so happy and proud of Dougie for being so strong and achieving so much. But there was always a sadness and real fear of the unknown.”
Dougie first visited Bluebell Wood when he was eight-months-old and since then the family have visited many times, allowing them to create great memories together to treasure.
Beth describes one of the many ‘moments’ she has experienced while at Bluebell Wood as the realisation that the support of the charity would enable her to return to work. She said: “When we were told that Dougie had a limited life expectancy I never thought I’d get back to my job.
“But incredibly, thanks to Bluebell Wood, it happened, and it’s been life-changing. I now get to have time to myself for work, while Dougie gets to have access to the hospice and to nursery, which he loves. Having all of that makes the time we have together as a family more special than ever.
“After several spells of hospital admissions, Bluebell Wood’s specialist care staff provided a welcoming, calming place we could be together as a family, while knowing Dougie was in safe hands. It was then that it really hit home to me how important Bluebell Wood was in our lives.”
A very special moment was recently made for teenager Daniel Binney of Barnsley, who is enjoying respite care at Bluebell Wood this week after walking his mum, Trish Hall, down the aisle in Gretna Green on Saturday.
Trish and her partner Mark brought wedding forward to Saturday 9th May so her son could be part of the big day. Daniel described the day as overwhelming and said being part of it made him feel very proud and happy.
After a busy weekend, Daniel is getting the very best support from Bluebell Wood’s dedicated Care Team; giving his family members the chance to relax and spend quality time with him. Daniel chose to come to Bluebell Wood for respite and to be able to have special moments with his family.
He said: “I want to come here and relax, spend time with my nephews in an environment we can all enjoy. It’s very different to hospital – lots more homely. The last few weeks have been very tiring and stressful, so it’s good to have space to spend with my family. I want to use the cinema room, Jacuzzi and all of the other brilliant facilities here at Bluebell Wood I can.”
Claire Rintoul, Chief Executive of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, said: “We are here to make sure that every moment does count for all of our 200 children and their families who are facing very tough times. We provide a range of services for all of the families we support, so we can give them the choice as to where and how we support them.
“Bluebell Wood is genuinely a place filled with love and laughter. We are here to help families relax, have fun and spend precious time together while always under the supervision of our fantastic Care Team.”
It costs more than £3m to run Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, providing support both at the hospice and in the community.
For further details about Children’s Hospice Week, visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/childrenshospiceweek