When my sister Rebecca fell ill and was taken into hospital, I was 12 years old and right in the middle of studying for exams. It was a really hard time for the whole family, but The Sick Children's Trust provided a constant in the chaos.
It enabled us to be close to Rebecca and visit her in hospital as often as we wanted. Being able to stay together as a family in one of The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Homes from Home’, Guilford Street House, just two minutes away from Great Ormond Street Hospital, was invaluable – it meant that we didn’t feel like we had been separated, and we could battle through it together. It was also really useful for my parents, as they knew they could be at her bedside in a moment’s notice, so they were able to spend time away from the ward without being too worried.
It also gave me the independence to be able to go and visit her by myself sometimes. This was good because it meant I could spend some quality time with my sister, and it also gave my parents a chance to have a brief break. It’s important to have some time away from the ward, but no parent wants to leave their daughter alone in the hospital.
Finally it gave me a way that I could continue to revise for my exams whilst still being close to my sister. When going through such a horrible situation, you need to make sure you don’t let the rest of your life grind to a halt – keeping some normality in my life, even just by revising for exams, was good for me and for the whole family.
We owe so much to The Sick Children's Trust. It’s such a fantastic charity, and I’ve seen first-hand the difference it makes. We will be abseiling in August to raise money so that other families will have the same support when they need it most.
Oliver, now 25: Rebecca's older brother
Find out more about the abseil here: http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/News/index.html#/pressreleases/family-fundraisers-abseiling-to-thank-the-sick-childrens-trust-for-support-1485994