At 17, she was offered a referral to Little Harbour and so began, what was to become a hugely important part of our family life.
Sarah juggled chemo with studies and radiotherapy with exams. From time to time, she would pop into Little Harbour for a well-earned break, to recharge her batteries and to be surrounded by the best care. But it wasn’t just Sarah who enjoyed visits to Little Harbour; our whole family immersed themselves in the support from the hospice, with Sarah's brother Steve going on a sibs adventure weekend, Jane becoming part of the mum's support group and myself having a go at a golf taster day with the other dads. We were able to put our complete trust in them.
Sarah did well through all of her treatment and had a good quality of life. During some respite stays at Little Harbour and on trips out, she was sometimes mistaken as one of the care team! At Little Harbour Summer fetes and Christmas parties, sometimes we felt a little awkward amongst other families, as we didn't have a child in a wheelchair or with complex needs, showing that not all disabilities and long-term health conditions are outwardly visible. Sarah had epilepsy as well, something else that she managed incredibly well to limit her seizures, but when you met her you wouldn't know.
The Care Team at Little Harbour were with us every step of the way, guiding and supporting us, as a family, through palliative care and preparing us for end of life care. It’s during this immensely difficult time that you realise just how skilled and talented the care team really are. At the age of 24, Sarah passed away peacefully, in the very best place for her, surrounded by her family and large collection of cuddly toys.
Sarah had seen a lot of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in Cornwall and Bristol. She had been on children's wards and also received treatment from adult services. The one constant through all of this was Little Harbour and the enduring care from the amazing team we had developed such a special bond with. As a family, we now receive bereavement care from Little Harbour and are most relieved that this can continue for as long as is necessary.
We are eternally grateful to the whole team at Children’s Hospice South West and everyone who helps to raise money for families like ours. Thank you one and all.