Sienna, from Sheffield, was born prematurely at 34 weeks in April 2011. Her mum, Sara, tells her story:

“When Sienna was born, she was rushed to the Special Baby Care Unit at Jessops. After seven days we came home, but she stopped breathing and went blue, and we went back to the hospital. It was incredibly scary.

“Sienna had some tests, and an operation. After this, she had bilateral vocal cord palsy, and needed to have a tube in to help her breathe, called a tracheostomy. After this, she still wasn’t breathing very well, and we discovered she had bilateral vocal cord palsy, and subglottal stenosis, which is narrowing of her airways. She was taken straight to the High Dependency Unit and was there for 14 months.

“At the same time, my eldest daughter Cordelia was diagnosed with Autism. It was then that we visited Bluebell Wood for the first time. Once a month at weekends, we stayed at Bluebell Wood with Sienna and Cordelia, so the girls could bond. The lights and noise of the hospital were too much for Cordelia, so it was wonderful to be able to spend time peacefully at Bluebell Wood. The girls have a really strong bond; I think this is definitely down to the time they spent together at Bluebell Wood.

“When Sienna was a baby, we were told she would never make a sound. One day when we were at Bluebell Wood, we heard an excited squeal from the trampoline, and when we rushed outside, it was Sienna! That shows just how much she loves it here. It’s the little things they do that make such a huge difference – like the hospice chef always preparing her favourite meal of sausage, chips and peas. He even learnt the sign language for sausage so that he could communicate easily with Sienna.

”At Bluebell Wood, the girls love the music room, ball pool and messy play. Sienna always feels at ease here. She had a difficult time when she started school, as all her friends can run, and don’t have a tracheostomy. Sienna also has a rare type of epilepsy, and has 72 seizures every 24 hours. This affects her mobility and she gets tired a lot. At Bluebell she meets other children like her, and doesn’t feel so different.

“Bluebell Wood isn’t just brilliant fun for the girls – it’s fantastic for me too. At home, I often don’t get more than three hours sleep, and don’t eat until after 10pm. Just to have a hot meal made for me, a bath and a cup of tea means so much. To have someone take over Sienna’s medicine and care, just for a while, is so nice. It really is the difference between keeping my sanity and not. It’s like home from home but better.”