The Hall family
When George was born we were given the horrendous news that he was in heart failure and would probably not survive. We asked for a second opinion and so we were sent to the Freeman Hospital, nearly 100 miles away from our home in Skipton. Surgeons at the Freeman Hospital decided to operate on George, and so our tiny newborn baby had major heart surgery and a tracheostomy.
I was exhausted and emotionally drained. I needed my family around me to support me, and I needed somewhere away from the ward to rest and regain my strength for George’s sake. When George had first been in hospital in Leeds I had stayed with The Sick Children’s Trust in their “Home from Home” called Eckersley House, so I was relieved when the hospital social worker arranged for me to have a room with The Sick Children’s Trust again, this time in Crawford House, a few miles from the Freeman Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
For the next two months I travelled across town from Crawford House to the Freeman Hospital to spend the days with George. His dad Jake came to stay, and our 3 year old son Harvey was able to join us. It was wonderful for me to be there for both my sons – I had really been missing Harvey. From time to time my mum and my brother came to stay as well, just to give me a break so that I could go home for a day or just have time to myself to rest. Soon George had recovered enough to be transferred to the RVI and Jake, mum and I spent the next 2 months learning how to care for him with his tracheostomy.
Finally in May we were transferred back to Leeds while George’s care package was sorted out, and we stayed in Eckersley House for yet another two months. Eckersley House and Crawford House became homes for our family for six months in total this year, and I don’t know what we would have done without them. The Sick Children’s Trust look after their houses so well – the quality is amazing. I had expected just a very basic room, but both houses had wonderful kitchens so we cooked together and had proper family meals. There were laundry rooms so we didn’t have to keep sending things home to wash and the play facilities kept Harvey happy for hours. George was able to come and spend some time with us in Crawford House, which was wonderful. We made some good friends whose children were going through similar treatment, and we all supported one another.
The wonderful thing about The Sick Children’s Trust “Homes from Home” is that although you have your own private room you never need to feel alone. There is always someone there to talk to, and the staff are really helpful.
George will need more treatment as he grows and we feel so much more relaxed about that because we know we will have the support of this lovely charity in years to come.
Hollie Pearson, George Hall’s mum.