‘It saved us emotionally and financially too’

Makenna Blackensee
Makenna Blackensee

TREETOP House made a huge difference to Tina Blanckensee after her daughter, Makenna, was born with a form of dwarfism.

She was transferred within days from Pinderfields Hospital, near their home town of Pontefract, to the intensive care unit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

For the first two nights, Tina slept in a bedside chair, away from her husband and two other children Reilley, seven, and Liberty, four.

“We live miles away,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine having to travel daily, not to mention the high cost of petrol, and I didn’t want to leave her all alone.”

As well as being diagnosed with Achondroplasia, Makenna was on a ventilator because of breathing difficulties.

Then another mum in the hospital told Tina about Treetop House, a ‘Home from Home’ provided by The Sick Children’s Trust.

“To our great relief after three days we were told there was room, even though the waiting list was still over 20 families long, because our daughter’s illness was significantly severe.

“We were so thankful to be given the opportunity to be close to Makenna in proper accommodation. It saved us on both an emotional and a financial level.

“I was able to handle any problems my daughter had, as well as get a break and get away from the ward for a while.

“Having a place to go, to clear my mind and talk about things without medical terminology surrounding me was invaluable.”

After six weeks, the family were back to their local hospital, although Makenna will have to return to Sheffield for another operation.

“We will try to stay in Treetop House again but we probably won’t get the chance because of the high occupancy and waiting lists.

“To have a second ‘Home from Home’ at Sheffield Children’s Hospital would be wonderful so that more families are able to receive the same support we did.”