In the Spring of 2018 Sam was a healthy, happy teenager; attending college, playing an active part in his local Scouts group and helping his mum, Linda, with her party planning business by appearing as Spider-Man to entertain children. It was at one of these parties when alarm bells started ringing for Linda. There had already been a couple of incidences where Sam had experienced unusual pain in his hands and hadn’t been able to tie his shoelaces, but on this day, Linda had asked him to move some tables for her. Half an hour later, she found Sam standing motionless next to one of the table with no idea where he was or what he was supposed to be doing.
A trip to the GP followed by a barrage of hospital appointments, blood tests and scans, Sam was eventually, via stays at hospital in Margate, Canterbury and King’s College Hospital, London, admitted to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queen Square, London.
On 9 August, following a biopsy, Sam was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. “Sam was fading away in front of me,” said Linda. “The last time I really spoke to Sam was on 11 August”. Sam suffered a massive seizure that day and the family were told his condition was terminal.
Sam was moved to the Demelza Hospice in Sittingbourne on Bank Holiday Monday in August 2018 and died there on 2 September.
Linda has nothing but praise for the support she received from the staff at Demelza and the bereavement facilities the charity offers: “Being at Demelza was such a relief. You don’t want your loved one to be taken away and put in the dark. The Bereavement Suite was amazing – it gave all of us the opportunity to take stock of what had happened, and we were able to say goodbye to Sam in our own time. It’s so, so worth it, to be able to say goodbye when it’s in your control.
The nurses and carers were so thoughtful – they put a Spider-Man picture on Sam’s door and we could decorate the room just how we wanted to. Sam’s nieces and nephew were able to draw him pictures and staff made their understanding of death so much easier. Friends and family visited Sam and we had hand and footprints made, plus lots of other keepsakes. Everyone was so professional but at the same time so human, and one of the team even came to Sam’s funeral.
Every family in this situation should consider the Bereavement Suite, even if it’s just for one day. I can never repay Demelza for what they did for me and for my family, and especially for Sam.”
As a charity, we cannot continue providing specialist care and support to babies, children, and young people like Sam and his family during end of life and through bereavement without the help of our kind supporters.
To make a donation to our Bereavement Suite Appeal, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/bereavement