HEALTHY LIVING: ‘It always felt like a caring partnership’

Matalie Maw
Matalie Maw
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“In October 2009 our world of normality was shattered when Natalie, then aged 10, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“A programme of chemotherapy was started, followed by a major operation in Leeds to remove the tumour and take away the damaged part of her liver.

Karen and Peter Maw,of Whiston..who lost their 12 year old daughter to cancer..

Karen and Peter Maw,of Whiston..who lost their 12 year old daughter to cancer..

“By the summer of 2010 it appeared Natalie had made a full recovery and she started at St Bernard’s Catholic High School that September.

“Sadly tests revealed that the cancer had returned in the October of that year.

“The devastating blow was that it had reappeared in a secondary form in her lungs and that the diagnosis was terminal.

“A form of drug therapy worked for a while but from April 2011 onwards no further treatment was available.

“She was still leading a full, productive and happy life and went on a drug trial in the summer.

“Having had two courses of radiotherapy at Weston Park in the autumn, Natalie had a good Christmas and started school in the New Year.

“However, after two weeks it was clear she could no longer carry on at school and would need to be cared for at home.

“At this point Bluebell Wood was suggested by Natalie’s doctor and we visited without Natalie to have a look, with some apprehension.

“Any worries were quickly put to one side with the warm welcome and the relaxed feel of the place - totally different to a hospital.

“Natalie loved it. She enjoyed meeting the staff and spent much of her time in the craft room producing a wide range of items for fun and presents.

“There are no rights and wrongs at Bluebell Wood – Natalie did what she wanted to do and it gave her a rest from her tiresome parents who enjoyed the easy feel of the lounge and the walks nearby.

“The staff were wonderful and made the seven weeks she attended twice a week as pleasurable as possible, despite her declining health.

“She was able to take part in wheelchair dancing, a helicopter ride and met unusual animals.

“Events sadly took their course and on February 29 Natalie deteriorated rapidly at home and it was without a moment’s hesitation that Bluebell Wood was contacted to admit Natalie.

“With the support of the community nurse, she was made comfortable in her own bedroom and assigned her own care team.

“Natalie died early the following morning, March 1, 2012, surrounded by love and care, and was looked after superbly overnight.

“The team helped us in the hours following making the initial arrangements and explaining what needed to be done.

“At every stage it felt like a caring partnership.

“Thank you Bluebell Wood for being there when we needed you.”