The charity lifeline when our son needed brain surgery

Jeff, Andrew and Lynne Sharp
Jeff, Andrew and Lynne Sharp

Andrew Sharp was a healthy teenage boy until one day he began to scream out with a headache.

“We were terrified,” said his mum, Lynne. “There were no signs before this of anything being wrong. His pain came from nowhere. We knew that what Andrew was experiencing wasn’t normal and was much worse than any other headache or migraine we had seen or experienced before.”

Andrew, then 15, was taken to Barnsley Hospital, then Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with a bleed on the brain, requiring immediate surgery.

Over five weeks the Lynne and Jeff Sharp were able to stay close to Andrew because of the free family accommodation at the Children’s Hospital, Treetop House, which is provided by a charity, The Sick Children’s Trust.

With Andrew now back home in Barnsley and slowly getting better, they reflected on how, last March, it had provided everything they had needed 15 miles away from home, crucially giving them the opportunity to stay close to his bedside.

“We were blown away,” said Lynne. “Treetop House was on the top floor of the hospital and was like a real home.”

Andrew had a bleed specifically on the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls actions such as co-ordination and timing. He was in surgery for eight hours. As he recovered, his mum and dad continued to live in Treetop House, and

“The house was great as it was always busy with other families who were in similar situations to us. Each of us could really understand what the others were going through.”

The Sharps are full of praise for The Sick Children’s Trust, which is preparing to open its second ‘home from home’, Magnolia House, in Northumberland Road.

So far the Branching Out Appeal, which is backed by the Sheffield Telegraph, has raised £874,000 and needs just over £90,000 to hit its target.