Kian was one of the ­first children to visit Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. He has lissencephaly, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. This means he can’t talk or walk and needs to be fed through a tube. Kian’s dad, Tony, explain how Bluebell Wood helps their family.

“Kian is a happy sociable child, and always has a smile on his face. He’s our baby and has got a million and one fans. He absolutely loves football and is a huge fan of Doncaster Rovers. Kian has very specific medical needs, which can sometimes be exhausting for our family. He often only has two hours sleep in a 24 hour period, which can leave us with no sleep, and completely shattered. Because of his condition, it’s difficult for our extended family to care for him, and that’s where Bluebell Wood comes in.

“Mention the word ‘hospice’ and straight away it’s a conversation stopper, especially when you add the word ‘children’s’. People often think it’s just about death. Bluebell Wood does offer end-of-life care, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a place of fun, laughter and smiles, where you can come and enjoy yourself. I am a parent of a child who is fortunate to be able to go to Bluebell Wood. I say fortunate, because it’s really is a brilliant place to be. A lot has changed over the last ten years, but the quality of care the hospice offers never has.

“We always say we walk out of our house into a home when we go to Bluebell Wood. Kian knows as soon as we turn into the drive at Bluebell Wood – as soon as we hit those traffic lights he knows exactly where he is and his face just lights up. The first thing he does when he arrives is see George the dog. Kian loves hats and for as long as I can remember he’s brought in a hat for George to play with every time he’s come in to stay.”

Diane, one of the Activity Co-ordinators at the hospice, added, “Kian gets so much out of his stays at Bluebell Wood. He understands a lot of Makaton, which is a type of language using signs to communicate. The signing helps Kian feel included in the activities we do, and helps him feel more at home.”

Tony said, “The care team are our extended family, and Bluebell Wood offers so much more than respite for us and Kian. Kian has free rein when he comes here – he gets to play in the ball pool, do crafts, and just have fun. They don’t just focus on the child, though, it’s about the whole family. Coming here gives me a break from our day to day routine, and I get to meet other families who know what sort of thing we’re going through.

“We just love this place, and I really don’t know what we’d do without it. That’s why it’s so important for me to thank everyone who has given their time and money to make all this possible. Bluebell Wood is a lifeline for our family, if it wasn’t there it would be like losing a family member. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.”