Kaden Bramley, aged 14, has SMA Type II, which is a rare genetic neuromuscular condition. This means his muscles are seriously weakened, which affects his mobility. Kaden and his mum, Mel, tell their story.
“When Kaden was born, a lot of my friends had children at the same time. Kaden was my first child and I noticed that he wasn’t getting to any of the milestones that the other babies were.
“At 16 months, he couldn’t stand up or walk. He was referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and had lots of tests, including a spinal fluid and muscle biopsy. Just before his third birthday we were told that he had SMA Type II. I’d never heard of it, and I couldn’t stop crying; my whole world collapsed.
“We already knew about Bluebell Wood, because my cousin’s baby had SMA Type I and had end-of-life care there. I didn’t know what to think when we first visited, but as soon as we walked through the doors, I saw how nice it was.
“We used to stay at the hospice on short breaks as a family, with his four younger brothers; Kalen, Keirron, Mason and Harley. The boys really loved going, they could run round the gardens, play in the ball pool and just have loads of fun. One year, we stayed at Easter and had a huge egg hunt round the gardens.
“Now Kaden’s older, he stays on his own at Bluebell Wood. This means he gets time on his own, and he’s made some really close friends there, as he’s part of the teenage group. It gives him time in a place with other children of the same age who are experiencing similar things to him.
“It sounds simple, but one of the things he looks forward to doing at Bluebell Wood is having a bath. At home, we have a walk-in shower, but at Bluebell Wood there’s a hoist to help him get into the bath, which really lets him relax.”
Kaden adds “I love going to Bluebell Wood, and sometimes don’t want to come home when I’m there! The best things are the Jacuzzi, cinema room, and painting. I love having lots of banter with all the staff about football, as I’m a Sheffield Wednesday fan. There’s always loads to do and the food’s delicious too.”
Mel says, “There’s no place like Bluebell Wood. It’s so welcoming and means so much to Kaden. It’s improved his confidence and he just loves spending time there. Thank you so much to everyone who donates; your money really does make such a difference.”