When a devastating illness hits your child
AS work is about to start on extra accommodation for families of patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Colleen and Lee Beer know how crucial it can be.
They stayed in existing hospital accommodation provided by The Sick Children’s Trust - Treetop House - when their son, Dylan, developed an infection in the bloodstream, streptoccocal A septiceamia, at the age of four.
“Dylan was seriously ill, bless him, and we were devastated,” said Colleen, who lives in Bolsover. “He was in the intensive care unit for 11 days. We stayed by his side 24/7, not eating, sleeping, or anything.
“As Dylan was getting better, the hospital told us about The Sick Children’s Trust accommodation. We put our names down and were given a room. It is somewhere to have something to eat and talk to other parents going through the same and to the people who work there. They really are a shoulder to cry on and are so caring.
“You are close to your child as well - we would never have gone home back to Chesterfield. We wanted to be with Dylan all the time and you can when you stay there as you have telephones direct to the wards for when you go for a shower or something to eat.
“They have all the facilities that you need. Your other children can also stay with you. We have a daughter, Ellie Mae, who was two at the time, and Dylan and Ellie Mae are really close. When you have a sick child you don’t think about eating sleeping or anything. Only your child matters.
“The trust is there to help you through your devastating time and we can’t thank them enough. We love them so much for everything that they have done for Dylan and us.”
Dylan, now six, has made a good recovery since he was taken to the Children’s Hospital in September 2011.
“He is doing really well at school and is a keen swimmer, always smiling and giving thumbs up,” said Colleen, aged 34, who works in promotions, and lives with husband Lee, aged 39, who works for an aeronautical company. “We can’t thank the trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital enough.”
The Sick Children’s Trust is creating a second ‘home from home’, with 11 bedrooms, in two hospital properties in Northumberland Road so that an extra 300 families a year can stay there.
Its £1.2m appeal for a second unit, which has the backing of actor Dominic West, who is currently appearing at the Crucible in My Fair Lady, has passed the halfway point thanks to a wide range of fundraising activities across the Sheffield region.
A start is due to be made soon on converting the building, which will have a direct link to the Children’s Hospital, and which will be completed as part of plans for the hospital’s wider redevelopment.
* You can make a donation by clicking on our Branching Out Appeal button on the Telegraph website at Sheffield Telegraph
If you would like to help by organising an event or collection, contact Samantha Silverwood, Regional Fundraiser – Yorkshire on firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring Treetop House on 0114 2717176.
Make cheques payable to The Sick Children’s Trust, marking your envelope ‘Branching Out Appeal’ and send to Treetop House, The Sick Children’s Trust, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TH. Information on the Branching Out Appeal can be found at Sick Children’s Trust
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