For #NationalStoryTellingWeek, we asked staff members to share their favourite experiences from their time working here at Demelza. Read three special memories below...
"In my first week at Demelza I met a newly admitted child the same age as my own. He was slumped in his highchair and had spent his entire life in hospital. I couldn’t help but think about the experiences my own child had had: playing in a park; swimming; going to children’s parties and making little friends, and compare this to his experience of spending two years in hospital. I wasn’t sure I could work somewhere like this…
But each time I saw this child, there was a change. When he came to Demelza the care team took him swimming in our hydro-pool, they took him horse riding, and even ice-skating! They helped him move about more, and before long he was charging about the place, dragging his oxygen supply behind him!
He got to play outside in the playground, to go to parties and to do the things other children his age were doing. After seeing the incredible difference staff at Demelza can make, now I’m not sure I could ever leave."
"One moment I'll always remember was meeting a particular mother at Demelza's Eltham hospice for the Parent & Carer forum. The group was fairly small but crucial to the parents who were attending as a way to connect with other families who were struggling with similar issues such as finding school places, or getting around London with a child who had complex care needs.
I found out that not only was it this mum's first time attending the group, but the very first time she had opened up with anyone about her child's condition. She was understandably a little shy at first but once she realised that she was surrounded by other mums who understood exactly what life was like for her, she relaxed and started opening up amongst her new friends. When I left she was deep in conversation with a smile on her face and I knew she'd be back for the next one."
"My favourite moment from my twenty years here at Demelza was being able to help a little girl with no muscle tone who was nonverbal but desperately wanted to ride a pony. After working out the necessary risk assessments and insurance bills, my pony, Lacy, arrived ready to oblige.
The little girl was transformed and animated beyond recognition. We struggled to get her off the pony in the end. Her mum cried as she had always wanted to do it but couldn’t find anyone to make it happen. My two daughters who were present still reflect on that moment today, and so do I - some things stay with you. The memories we can create for families can never be underestimated.
We hope you enjoyed these reflections from staff. It is only with your help that we are able to keep making moments like these for the families who need them. There are many ways you can lend your support to children with terminal conditions and their families