THE family of a sick youngster have praised a charity that provides a ‘home from home’ at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, allowing them to stay close to their son during months of treatment.
Marie and Glen Laidler said Treetop House, run by the Sick Children’s Trust, was a lifeline for the family while their son Jayden was in hospital.
The eight-month old was born with cystic fibrosis and further tests carried out shortly afterwards revealed he was suffering from a blockage in his bowels which required emergency surgery when he was just five days old.
Initially he made good progress, but soon began losing weight very quickly.
In February the family, from Canklow, Rotherham, took Jayden back to the hospital where further tests were carried out.
After two weeks on the ward doctors revealed he would be in hospital for a long-term stay - and told them about Treetop House.
Marie said: “Before we got a room at Treetop House we were travelling back and forth from our home which was half an hour each way and with neither myself nor my partner being able to drive, we had to use public transport.
“This isn’t ideal when you have a sick child and every second counts. We just wanted to be close to Jayden all the time.
“The first week Jayden was on the ward, when we didn’t have anywhere to stay, we were going back and forth to do our washing.
“We were just rushing into our home, tidying and putting a quick wash on with enough to keep us going for a few days before going straight back to the hospital.
“Eating out was also proving expensive. We didn’t want to stay at home and make meals as being by Jayden’s side was our priority, so we would grab a quick snack from the hospital canteen just to keep us going.
“All these little things added to the stress of what we were already going through, but once we found accommodation at Treetop House these were no longer an issue. It’s these little touches that make such a difference.
“Staying at the house not only helped us to physically stay close to Jayden but also mentally gave us peace of mind.
“When we were staying there we used the phones in the rooms to keep in touch with the ward and would often call down just to check on his progress and make sure he was doing okay.”
As Jayden’s condition improved he was able to leave the ward and stay with his parents at the house - another huge boost for him and his family.
Marie said: “Although he is too young to take advantage of the play room or even watch TV, I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to be like a normal family.
“As Jayden got ill pretty much straight away after he was born, we hadn’t had the chance to do ‘normal’ family things like cook a meal together or just sit in the room and play with toys.
“The Sick Children’s Trust provided us with a place to do that and really helped us all bond together as a family – I think spending this type of quality time together also helped Jayden to recover quicker, as it is so much better being close to one another.
“I am sure having us around and being away from the wards gave him strength to get through his illness quicker.”
Jayden has now been discharged and is back home, with regular check-ups at the hospital.
Marie added: “Thankfully these should only be for a day visit.
“I can’t thank The Sick Children’s Trust enough for its support during this time.”
n Visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org to donate to the charity.