A lack of oxygen at birth means Isabelle (known as Izzy) has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy and needs 24-hour care. She is fed through a tube and needs a wheelchair to get around.
Something as simple as being able to have a good night’s sleep is only possible when Izzy goes to stay at Demelza SEL
and mum Charmaine and dad Louis get a break. Charmaine says: “She is not able to do anything for herself so we need to do everything for her.
“Demelza helping means switching off your alarm and having a good night’s sleep, knowing that she is ok. It means we can recharge our batteries. When she is at home it doesn’t matter what time she goes to bed, our alarm goes off at 5.30am.
“Her sleep is much better than it used to be. When she first started to go to Demelza the staff used to joke that she was part of the night crew as she was up all night.”
The family has been coming to the hospice in Eltham for around five years but was not sure about it at first: “When Demelza was first mentioned all we heard was 'hospice' but we went and saw it and said 'this is amazing',” Charmaine explained.
Izzy enjoys her stays too. “She knows the staff, she’s well taken care of. She gets involved in the activities - music therapy, painting.”
And, all importantly, Demelza means peace of mind for the family. “Knowing she is safe, knowing if something goes wrong someone will call us, that’s how much we trust Demelza.”
Could you help a child like Izzy? Find out how you can volunteer for Demelza.