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by Carolyn Voisey
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Until Sam was born I didn’t really know about children’s hospices; I assumed they would be sad, clinical places, much in line with my memories of visiting my beloved Grandmother in a hospice as she was dying of cancer. 

When Sam was 5 months old and desperately ill the subject of hospice care came up and I will admit it was the last thing I wanted to think about.

My boy was going to make it, he was going to be absolutely fine.

What use did we have for a hospice?

As the full extent of Sam’s condition started to become clear, we agreed to at least visit and see what support was available.

We desperately needed it; both me and Sam’s Dad were barely functioning, fragile with exhaustion and fear.

Our family liaison lady, Debbie, greeted us at the door and welcomed us in… mugs of tea and biscuits were rapidly produced and we sat down for a chat, all the while I was clinging onto our baby like both our lives depended on it.

I still remember that young mum, broken by grief and fear, terrified that she wasn’t up to the task of caring for such a fragile little boy.

I’m not her anymore, over the years I’ve grown alongside Sam in confidence, our boy has shown what he’s capable of and is loved and happy.

The support we have from Treetops gives us breathing space when things are bad and have given us a place to be a family where we don’t have to worry about when medications are due, or feeds, or any of the other mundane medical side of having a complex child.

For Sam, it is a place full of love, fun and laughter; he loves his visits, from the fully accessible playground, to the sensory room and the craft area there’s something for all the children to enjoy.

For me and his Dad, it allows us time to be together as a couple, doing the usual things other parents take for granted; it also allows us to just be a normal family for once.

Many of the staff who were there all those years ago are still there now, and they still remember how tiny Sam was!

For us, Treetops has been there throughout our journey with complex medical needs and will remain a hugely important part of our lives.

It really is our home from home.

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