Darcey’s story… #FestiveWishes Christmas Appeal 2021

Earlier this week, at Demelza we launched our #FestiveWishes, Christmas Appeal 2021. We are asking people to donate to our appeal to enable us to provide the unique care and support to more children and families across Kent, South East London and East Sussex. We are hoping to raise £100,000 this Christmas.  

Zoe, mum to Darcey, has taken the time to share their story: 


“When I was 20 weeks pregnant, we were told that our baby would need heart surgery – but would hopefully go on to lead a normal life. Darcey was born in October 2020 – and at two months old, our little girl had already been through two major operations. It was such a difficult time and the added complications and restrictions of COVID-19 prevented us from being with her as a family as we so desperately wanted to. Sadly, and very unexpectedly, just before Christmas she started to struggle. We were given the devastating news from doctors that Darcey’s heart could not be fixed.  

“Darcey was very fragile and we were told she could pass away at any moment. With a tube helping her to breathe, she just looked so poorly. Very quickly our thoughts turned to Archie, Darcey’s four-year-old brother. How could we possibly break the news to him? Having only met his little sister once, he longed for her to come home whilst, of course, being very excited about Christmas! We desperately wanted to give Archie a happy memory of his sister and his new family and didn’t want this Christmas and those that followed to be focused on sadness. And so, we decided we would bring Darcey home on Christmas Eve. Being together as a family at home for the first time would make Christmas Eve our special day to celebrate for years to come. 

“On Christmas Eve I travelled with Darcey and two wonderful intensive care nurses in a specialist ambulance. At home, we were introduced to more nurses including Lottie, our Demelza nurse. That day, Lottie helped us make all sorts of precious memories. She took clay impressions of Darcey’s feet so we could remember how delicate they were. I remember that she laughed when she realised I had bought 10 kits! It was so comforting to have Darcey home for Christmas, with the chance to take lots of photos and have cuddles. After just a few hours, it was time for the nurses to remove Darcey’s breathing tube. We had no idea whether she would breathe for herself or for how long. We kissed Darcey, left the room and waited anxiously. And then we heard the sound I had missed so much – Darcey’s cry. It was the most beautiful sound, reassuring us she was breathing by herself. 

“We rushed back in and I held my daughter – treasuring every moment with her, never knowing whether it would be our last together. The next day we woke with our daughter by our side – Darcey (being the little warrior she has turned out to be) decided that she wasn’t going to miss her first Christmas. Wonderfully, Darcey had her first Christmas with us – and, she is still here with us here today. 

The reason I am sharing our story with you is so you can hopefully understand how utterly life-changing Demelza’s care really is – the care you make possible when you support them. Your fundraising efforts and the donations you give made it possible for Demelza’s team to come home with us last Christmas Eve – and they allow Lottie to continue to give the care our little girl still needs.” 


Help us to wave a magic wand over children with serious or terminal conditions. By giving the gift of care, you can make festive wishes come true – and create treasured family memories that will last forever.