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Parents, Karen and Brian Abraham, from South Shields, understand more than most about the amazing care and life-changing support that St Oswald’s Hospice can give to families like theirs.

We have been providing monthly, short breaks for their 11-year-old son, Michael, for four years now and they can’t praise the Children and Young Adults Service enough.  That’s why they’re sharing their story this Children’s Hospice Week (20th-26th June), to raise awareness about St Oswald’s Hospice and the difference we make for the children and young adults we care for.

Michael’s mum, Karen explained:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is just an amazing place.  It’s somewhere Michael can come and he can have a sleepover and we know he gets the best of care and he has so much fun.  He loves the whole experience.”

Our Children and Young Adults Service provides fun-filled, short breaks and a home-from-home environment to babies, children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.  All supported by the wonderful team of staff and volunteers who work here.

Michael Abraham has touched hearts amongst many at the hospice with his smiley outlook. Matron, Jocelyn Thompson, who manages the service said:

“Despite it being a very tough life for him, Michael is an adorable boy, full of smiles.”

Jocelyn went on to explain that Michael has a rare life-limiting condition which impacts every aspect of his life.

“This condition means that Michael uses a wheelchair, has learning difficulties and suffers from multiple complex seizures, leading to many sleepless nights.  Michael can’t talk in the same way we do or eat and so is fed through a feeding tube in his tummy.  He needs constant supervision to keep him safe and twenty-four-seven care to ensure his needs are met.”

Mum and Dad have no worries about Michael’s needs being met at St Oswald’s Hospice, as Brian pointed out:

“It’s somewhere we can bring him to and we know when we leave him, he’s going to have the best of care. And you don’t have to worry or anything.  He’s in more than capable hands of looking after him.”

Michael has monthly, three-night stays with us at St Oswald’s Hospice, where he receives one-to-one nursing care.  He sometimes suffers from seizures and can be very unwell.  However, a lot of the time, Michael is his smiley, happy self and enjoys his Short Break.

As Mum, Karen, shared:

“He’s done so many things, he’s been surfing, he goes on day trips, he loves music therapy.  There’s so many things the hospice do with him and he just loves everything. The staff are amazing, the whole experience - it just means so much to have that available.”

However, Karen was keen to point out that it’s not just Michael who benefits from the care St Oswald’s Hospice provides.

“It’s our only time, aside from school, that we have a break and know that he’s somewhere safe.  Because Michael’s condition is really complicated and a lot of people won’t have him, he needs somewhere like the hospice where he gets the best of care and he’s safe, so we don’t have to worry.”

Michael’s Dad agreed:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is great.  We’re really thankful he has the opportunity to come here. But it’s not just the looking after Michael, it’s the support they give to us as parents as well.  They’re always just a phone call away if we need them.  They’re always involved with everything.  Even some of the meetings we’ve had in Michael’s school, they’ve been supportive with.  They’ve always been there and supported us and the decisions that we’ve wanted to happen.  Just to basically have their backing is great.”

Children’s Hospice Week is organised by Together for Short Lives and is the only UK fundraising and awareness week for children’s hospices across the UK.  This year, the theme is #ForTheChildren, which Angela Egdell, Director of Care Services, thinks could not be more fitting for St Oswald’s Hospice.

“Everything we do is aimed at keeping children and young people, like Michael, at the centre of the care that’s provided,” said Angela.

St Oswald’s Hospice is all about quality time for everyone. That’s why Children’s Activities Coordinator, Lauren Archibald, is part of the team responsible for bringing the fun and making special memories for the children.  Lauren said:

“We love doing what we do for the children and seeing them smile. The little moments created every day and everything we do at the hospice means the world to the families and children who access our service.”

During Children’s Hospice Week, you can follow St Oswald’s Hospice on social media (search St Oswald’s Hospice) to find out more about what the hospice does for the children and young adults.

Angela said:

“We’re delighted to show you what your support for the campaign and for
St Oswald’s Hospice allows us to achieve – happy children, receiving the best care and making memories is what it’s all about. While families, like Michael’s, can restore their energy levels to go forward.”

Could you do something incredible #ForTheChildren like Michael?

Text CHILDRENS to 70450 to donate £5 to St Oswald’s Hospice.

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If you’d like to give £5 but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text CHILDRENSNOINFO instead.