We need to raise £55k this Christmas to help families whenever, wherever they need us. Every penny will be spent on outreach support.
Together. Whenever. Wherever.
Helen & Douglas House helps children and young people be themselves and enjoy the time they have left. Just imagine how many more children like Daniel they could support if we raised £55,000 together this Christmas.
Families need your support right now. Please be there for them and don’t miss your chance to make the difference.
could fund craft materials that our team use to engage with the children and help them have fun and develop.
could fund an hour long session with an Outreach Nurse like Sian in a child’s home.
could fund 24 hours of medical supplies (including equipment and pharmacy costs) for a child staying at the hospice.
Give this Christmas to support our vital outreach work
”I’m so pleased we said yes to visits from Sian and her outreach team colleagues. Without them Daniel never would have stepped through the doors at Helen & Douglas House.”
– Julie, Daniel’s loving mum
”If my role didn’t exist, young people wouldn’t get the support they need to do what’s important to them. Outreach support allows children and young people to live well and die a good death.”
– Sian, Outreach Nurse Specialist
”It is paradise here at Helen & Douglas House. I was scared to come here, but after being here for 30 minutes, I didn’t want to leave.”
Daniel was diagnosed with Sarcoma Cancer in December 2020 – he was 15, nearly 16. It all started with an achy leg, which the family thought was just a pulled ligament from football. It got worse so they had it x-rayed. That is when they found the tumour on his knee.
They ended up at the JR children’s hospital almost immediately to start chemotherapy, which Daniel had for nearly a year – meaning he was in hospital every few weeks.
2021 was particularly bad for Daniel, spending almost a whole year in hospital. He had knee replacement surgery to take the tumour out but unfortunately, after this, he got an infection and had to go back for another operation. This meant that he spent around 9 months out of 12 in hospital. During that time he was almost completely bedbound as he couldn’t walk, but he coped really well.
By the end of 2021 the tumour had spread to his legs and shoulder. This was devastating news. They could not operate on all the tumours. So it was a case of making him as comfortable as they could and concentrating on making memories.
“We found it almost impossible because obviously no one wants to tell their child they’re dying. As a family, we couldn’t find the right way to tell him. I didn’t want to scare him and I didn’t want him to give up. I wanted him to fight as long as he could.”
Support from Helen & Douglas House
For a long time he did not want to come in to the hospice, he was scared and thought he wouldn’t be able to leave once he came in. He hated the idea of hospice care at the start.
Sian (Outreach Nurse) visited Daniel’s house every couple of weeks to check on him. She helped make bucket list activities possible for Daniel; like trips to Silverstone and a Manchester United match. She’d spend time with the whole family, including Daniel’s brother James and his sister Hannah, encouraging them to share their feelings.
After stopping chemotherapy, Daniel started to brighten up. He was able to get in his wheelchair and get out and about. It was a great six months full of trips and activities. But he went downhill very quickly. He suddenly became poorly, struggling to breathe. So a team of nurses came to his home to provide palliative care.
“The nurses were wonderful. They were with us by our side. I asked Daniel, do you want to go to Helen & Douglas House? Oh, yes, mum. Let’s go to Helen & Douglas House. That’s where he wanted to be. As soon as he was moved from the ambulance into bed he laid back and let out a sigh of relief.
Going to Helen & Douglas House was the best decision we made.
Without the hospice, we would have fallen apart – and no one facing the death of their child should have to cope alone.”
Daniel died at the hospice the day he arrived for the final time, after which the family were supported for a further 6 days at Helen & Douglas House before the undertakers came.
“They cooked us all meals. They were there to talk to us. There were people coming out with endless cups of tea. And it was just incredible. For six days that went on. I can’t imagine you’d get that care anywhere else. There was no rush. I didn’t want to leave Daniel. We stayed with him right until he left. And that was just amazing.”