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Having a seriously ill child
is probably one of the biggest worries
you can ever have as a parent.
She deteriorated very quickly. She nearly died.
You don't know what this life is
until you've been through it yourself.
Every day is a blessing, what we've got with her.
So many tiny babies fighting for their life,
and then Flynn joined them in his fight for his life.
Sometimes, very sick children
have to be transferred to specialist hospitals,
which are often hundreds of miles from where they live.
And at this difficult time, members of the family end up sleeping
in the hospital or running up hotel bills
which they simply cannot afford.
This is why the charity The Sick Children's Trust
supports families during this traumatic period.
Zariah was diagnosed with a heart defect
when she was just six months old.
Started back in Glasgow.
She was going to a routine appointment.
She was breathing a bit heavily.
And they noticed that her heart was very dilated,
so they diagnosed her with a heart condition,
and her outcome is a heart transplant.
When you were travelling back and forwards from home in Glasgow
to the hospital, how long did that take?
Hour and a half on public transport.
And taxis was too much money,
costs over 30-odd pound to go from my house to the hospital.
And to do that twice a day, every day,
I couldn't afford it, I really couldn't.
And how did you manage for the first month or so
when you had Zariah in the hospital up there?
A lot of the nights, I was sleeping in the hospital,
but some nights, they said that I wasn't able to,
because I was just stopping in the waiting room.
And the one night I did go home, the next morning,
that was when she, um...nearly died.
I don't talk about all of this, you know?
It's hard sometimes going through everything.
Of course it is. Of course it is.
When I was nine years old,
I had my tonsils taken out in hospital.
My mother got the time wrong when she was supposed to collect me,
so I was left there all alone.
I still remember that fear,
worrying that she was never going to come back for me.
I don't want any seriously ill child
to ever go through fear like that.
Which is why, for the last 30 years,
I have supported The Sick Children's Trust.
They offer essential, free accommodation
as well as emotional and practical support
to families with very sick children,
located at specialist paediatric hospitals.
Providing a place to stay means families can focus
on getting their child better
and not stress about how to fund their hospital stay.
The Sick Children's Trust has ten home-from-homes around the country.
These children can be ill for quite a long time.
The family basically have to sort of move their life here.
Each of our home-from-homes is located very near to the hospital.
They can also rest, peacefully,
knowing that if there are any problems with the child,
the nurses can get in touch with them straightaway.
Zara and Nathan moved into Scott House in Newcastle
in April last year when their daughter, Darcy,
was treated for a serious heart condition.
Has it helped that you...?
Oh, it's phenomenal being here.
At least this is on the doorstep,
whereas, obviously, being back in Middlesbrough,
-we've got to travel a good hour each time.
-We can be here with her
if something went wrong, we could be straight over.
Look at her, wide awake!
MICHAEL GASPS Oh!
We often have parents who can stay in the house
while they're training on the ward to look after their sick child,
but also the children themselves can come over,
and so the parents can have a bit of a trial run
of looking after that child before they go home.
£30 will support a family for one night in a home-from-home
near to their sick child.
And that isn't just parents.
Brothers, sisters and grandparents, too.
Which gives such comfort to everyone.
My brother Flynn was born premature.
He's 19 months old.
He needs oxygen.
Helen was 25 weeks pregnant when she went into labour,
and was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
I was worried about where I was going to stay after I'd delivered,
and I was worried about being so far away from home.
After two weeks in hospital, Helen gave birth to a baby boy.
Flynn was diagnosed in the first 24 hours
with something called chronic lung disease.
And that affects his lungs.
They are just not mature enough to take oxygen out of the air.
Helen was given a room at Chestnut House, which is a home-from-home
that is situated inside the hospital.
To live at home and be an hour away,
when you've got to produce milk, express it, give it into them
on top of the stress of going backwards and forwards,
it is just not feasible. We would have got into a lot of debt
if I'd had to go in a hotel.
Because you are just not worrying about money, you're worrying about
whether your child is going to get through the next day.
And Flynn's brother was also able to stay with him.
My son, who was seven at the time,
he came to visit at weekends.
It meant that I could see him,
see how he was getting on,
In total, was away from home for six months.
It was such a benefit, for him,
and for him to meet his brother, as well.
When I first saw him,
when I touched his hand,
it felt so soft.
And it was very small.
Staff at the home-from-homes are the focal point for families
returning back from the hospital.
They offer support when families might still be digesting
what is happening to their child.
This emotional support can be invaluable.
Abi, she was a real support to us
when Dan couldn't be with us.
I could go and have a cup of tea and a chat with her
and the other parents within the house.
Made some long-life friends
and that made all the difference.
Last year, the charity helped around 4,000 families.
And all of the homes-from-home are run
entirely on voluntary donations, with no government money.
How is Zariah doing now, Leanda?
She has had a lot of up and downs, but, right now, she is stable.
So, that's all I can ask for right now.
The last thing you want, as a parent,
is to worry about money, trying to find somewhere
to put your head down close to your child when they're so sick.
And the home-from-home gives them that opportunity
to be right next to them.
Put yourself in their shoes for a moment, and imagine the pain
of being separated from your critically ill child,
and just think what a help being in a home-from-home would be to you.
Having a child who is sick is such an enormous worry
to parents, and for the whole family.
But, with your generosity,
it will be one less thing for them to worry about.
So, please, do give what you can.
To give by phone, call...
Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge
and the whole £10 goes to The Sick Children's Trust.
For full terms and conditions, or to make a donation online,
visit the Lifeline website.
Or if you'd would like to post a donation,
please make your cheque payable to The Sick Children's Trust,
and send it to...
..writing "The Sick Children's Trust" on the back of the envelope.