We went through so much turmoil with Rosie when she was a baby and I could never envision something bad happening to my sister again. However, when Rosie was 15 she was diagnosed with an ovarian tumour – it was the most destroying news I’ve ever received.
Things moved fast once the diagnosis came in and it was completely devastating. Rosie underwent a six hour operation which was successful but due to the nature of the procedure, and with Rosie being so young, her recovery period was prolonged, therefore the decision was made to keep her on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Addenbrooke’s Hospital. We live an hour and a half away so the idea of travelling that far to see Rosie was unthinkable. We assessed all the options available to stay close to the hospital while Rosie was having her surgery and that was when we were told about The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ Acorn House, a warm and comfortable place to stay while Rosie was recovering in hospital.
As soon as we were told about Acorn House our moods lifted. Being on the ward isn’t the most private place to deal with awful news. There’s no personal space to process it. We were over the moon to have the opportunity to stay at the ‘Home from Home’. As well as being a place to stay near to Rosie when we couldn’t stay on the PICU, it offered us a place to relax and learn how to deal with all the information we were receiving.
Without Acorn House we would’ve had to pay a fortune for a hotel, parking at the hospital or had the stress of commuting daily from Kings Lynn which is an hour and a half’s drive away. That would have meant leaving on her own during those extra hours that we’d spend travelling to and from the hospital. Thankfully this worry was taken away by The Sick Children’s Trust.
During our stay we talked to other families staying at Acorn House and we could completely sympathise with everyone there as we were all there for the same reason – to be close to our loved ones when they were seriously ill in hospital. Speaking to the other families made the whole experience more bearable. Being able to open up with them and finding a common ground was so comforting. Time away from the ward was much needed in the evening and during mealtimes too as it allowed other families privacy when visiting their child, and for us to have down time.
Rosie is a miniature version of me, and we spend so much time together so Acorn House really helped us maintain our close bond despite her being in such a bad place health-wise. Rosie has always looked up to me as a mother figure, so naturally we are best of friends.
Just a week after her operation, Rosie wanted to go back to school and get back to normal. She really is my hero and a true inspiration for others with the way she dealt with the news about her condition and her operations.
Lauren Williams, Rosie’s sister
I first went for an ultrasound at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in October 2019 after my GP referred me when my stomach was abnormally hard and swollen. This followed a fall while I was playing rugby which caused an agonising and intense pain. I had been getting pains on and off for a while however it didn’t worry me at the time as they faded quite quickly. I was also having multiple blood tests to find out what was wrong and during the ultrasound the doctors told my dad and me that they could see lots of fluid. I was immediately advised to go to A&E.
I was admitted to the children’s ward where doctors continued to manually examine my stomach and could clearly see something was wrong so they repeatedly asked me about my symptoms. I had blood tests, and CT and MRI scans with the results requiring a transfer to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. I met my surgeon and consultant and we discussed the plan of surgery and treatment going forward which would be an operation to remove my right ovary and fallopian tube as well as the fluid.
The situation was extremely shocking, I am not the person to be ill at all and I haven’t had any problems since I was a very small baby, so this brought a lot of concern to my family. Having my sister with me was the biggest positive though as we’ve always been so close so I have no idea what I would’ve done without her. Acorn House was genuinely the best thing and I couldn’t be more grateful. Having my family minutes away rather than over an hour away was such a blessing and stress reliever because if anything was to go wrong I’d have them close by.
Post-op I am doing really well and I will be eternally grateful for the charity’s generosity and hospitality towards my family while I was at Addenbrooke’s. The Sick Children’s Trust has truly been a miracle for my family and Acorn House without a doubt was vital to us all, as they are to so many other inspirational and strong families.
Rosie Williams, 16