‘Mischievous’ Molly Baxter was full of joy and loved by all who had the privilege of meeting her. She spent the final days of her all-too short life at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, surrounded by her family. Mum Carolyne Straw shares their heartbreaking story:

“We had our first scare when Molly was just three-months-old,” said Carolyne.

“I was feeding her and she went limp in my arms, so I got straight into the car without even putting my shoes on and took her to the doctors.”

It was the first of many scares. A few weeks later, after being hospitalised for three days, Molly was diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy. 

“The seizures affected her brain, and the longer they lasted the more it broke down her development. And because of the risks, it meant she needed 24 hour care,” said Carolyne.

Seizures became a regular occurrence in Molly’s life, but the brave and tenacious girl was a “tough cookie”.

“Anything that was thrown at her, she’d get herself back together again.

“She absolutely loved life. Mischievous Molly – she was always up to things. But she just had one of those smiles that melted you. She was very popular, everybody always wanted to be around her.”

Carolyne first visited Bluebell Wood in 2012 with a friend.

“I walked into Bluebell Wood and it was nothing like I’d ever thought it would be,” she said.

“It was like a holiday camp but better - just fantastic.”

It was in the most devastating of circumstances the family found their way back to Bluebell Wood in 2015.

It came after a Christmas family holiday to Spain took a tragic turn. The day after Boxing Day, a visit to a café ended with Molly choking and being starved of oxygen for over an hour. A few days later, she was transferred from Spain to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“The doctor sat us down in a room, showed us the scans, and said that in the unlikely event that she were to ever wake up, she wouldn’t be Molly anymore,” said Carolyne.

A few days later, the impossible decision was taken to remove the tubes that were helping her breathe. Molly was just 14-years-old.

“Being who she was - such a strong-willed girl - she breathed on her own. I wanted to bring her home, but when they mentioned Bluebell Wood I said yes without hesitation.

“Everyone at the hospice was absolutely fantastic. As well as a family room, they put two extra beds in with Molly so my mum and I could stay with her. It meant we could sleep at either side of her.

“The staff set up the room just as Molly would like it, bringing in rope lights which I know she would have loved. I just thought – this is Molly.”

Molly battled on for 16 days after arriving at Bluebell Wood, defying expectations.

“On her last night I laid with my head on her head, and that’s how we slept, touching one another.

“When I woke up she was gone. The care staff switched on all the lights and I was so pleased our heads were together. It was her way of saying, ‘I’m going now mum’.”

Carolyne will always treasure the last precious moments they spent together.

“Having that time at Bluebell Wood meant everything because I didn’t have to leave her to do other things. The staff were amazing – they really couldn’t do enough.

“There’s no price that you could put on those last days we had together, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”