Imagine being told that you must keep your toddler in the house, away from other people, for a whole year in case he catches a cold or other infection. What do you do all day, every day? How would you cope?
Who could you turn to?
Jen from Baldock found herself in this position after her four-year-old son Jacob, who has a complex medical condition called Hurler syndrome, had a bone marrow transplant.
“When Jacob came home from the hospital, his immune system had been destroyed,” Jen remembers. “It meant our home had to be kept as sterile as possible – and Jacob couldn’t leave it. Not only that, we couldn’t risk visitors for fear of bringing infection in with them.”
That’s when Keech first entered the family’s life through our play therapist, Jennie. “Jennie came out to see us every week and spent a few hours giving Jacob a therapeutic play session,” says Jen. “He loved every moment. But Jennie was also helping Jacob learn new skills and how to interact with the world. Those sessions were a lifeline for me, too, as caring for Jacob is a 24/7 job. Those afternoons were the only breaks I had – time I could spend just being mum to my younger son, Milo.”
Keech Hospice Care is a massive part of allowing Jacob to live his life to the fullest.
When Jacob couldn’t get out into the world, Jennie brought the world to him. “Jacob loves ducks,” says Jen, “but he couldn’t go out to feed them for fear of being exposed to infections. So, I arranged for some ducks to come to the house and Jacob fed them in his own garden. It was a fantastic moment and memory.”
Once Jacob had recovered from the transplant and come oﬀ oxygen, his family could – for the first time – think about taking him outside.
One of the first places they brought him was Keech Hospice Care, where he is a lively regular at the charity’s Tots and Toys playgroup.
Here, Jacob is able to mix with other children and build on the skills Jennie has put in place, and he is growing in confidence and independence. His parents can relax knowing he is in safe hands.
“Keech Hospice Care is there when we need it – in the hospital, at home or at the hospice itself,” says Jen. “Thanks to Keech Hospice Care, Jacob’s beginning to have his childhood.”