Imagine you are a teenager filled with dreams for your future. You love dance, gymnastics and roller-skating. You want to go travelling. You are planning for university.

Then the unimaginable happens. A rogue virus causes irreparable damage to your heart. You can’t run, dance or roller-skate anymore – not without putting your heart under life-threatening pressure.Donate button small

Aaliyah Photo

Two years ago, this is exactly what happened to 14-year-old Aaliyah from Bletchley, Milton Keynes.

“I now have dilated cardiomyopathy, which means my heart works at one-third of the rate of everyone else’s. It doesn’t beat normally and the valves don’t shut properly,” Aaliyah explains. “Because of this, I suffer from extreme tiredness, dizziness and palpitations, and have to be very careful with physical activity.”

Initially, Keech Hospice Care has helped Aaliyah and her family by offering short stays at the children’s hospice. “They helped us through the emotional fallout of everything that had happened,” says Aaliyah’s mum, Sabrina. Aaliyah also attends children’s day support at Keech Hospice Care, where she has met other teenagers with life-limiting conditions - and a shared sense of fun. “I’m part of what we call the Girls Aloud group at Keech Hospice Care,” she says. “We go shopping together, have pizza and movie nights, and are planning to see an ABBA tribute band soon! I love it because I’m doing normal things.”

I’m determined to get where I want to be. With Keech Hospice Care, my confidence rose.

 Donate button small

Aaliyah Photo 2Keech Hospice Care is also helping give Aaliyah back her future. “I was trying hard to be at school full time but nearly every lesson ended with a visit to the school nurse,” Aaliyah remembers. “I got further behind in my schoolwork, which made me more stressed, so I ended up missing more lessons. There was also some bullying because other students didn’t like the way I seemed to be let off things.”

So the children’s support team at Keech Hospice Care has stepped in with a plan of action focused on building up Aaliyah’s battered confidence. This includes short-term educational support with a volunteer teacher as well as talking therapies to help her work through her worries. “Keech Hospice Care has even been to my school to talk about what’s going on,” says Aaliyah. Mum Sabrina confirms that Aaliyah “has had a massive growth in confidence.”

“I’m determined to get where I want to be,” states Aaliyah, “and Keech Hospice Care is helping me do that - helping me make my dream future a reality.”

Help us help more teenagers like Aaliyah... 

Donate button small