Paediatric nurse, Donna, has referred two children and their families to Make-A-Wish UK. She explains how she will never forget the positive impact the charity had.
I came into nursing because my own brother was disabled, which gave me an appreciation of how much pressure there is on a family when a member is so ill.
But I also understand how special you feel when your wishes come true. Thinking back to the day we won a family holiday to Florida always makes my heart skip a beat. Years later I still recall the tremendous happiness and joy.
”Nursing gives families hope and support and I am so grateful to be involved in the lives of children and their families”
Although I’ve taken some time off recently due to severe health problems, I love my job and can’t wait to get back to it. Nursing gives families hope and support and I am so grateful to be involved in the lives of children and their families – children who never fail to surprise me or make me smile. My favourite part of my job is seeing a family go home after a particularly stressful time.
When I realised I could refer patients to Make-A-Wish UK it opened my eyes. Make-A-Wish UK is a truly astounding charity, and has a huge place in my heart for obvious reasons.
”There is something magical about being involved in granting wishes”
There is something magical about being involved in granting wishes. The child and the family are in the centre of the process and they are made to feel special – there’s almost a sense of it being unbelievable or unimaginable, yet it is very real.
I have referred two children to Make-A-Wish and the process was very easy. When I sent the forms to be signed by the child’s parents, I also included a special card from me. This was the first moment the family found out that they were about to have a wish granted and they had the card to keep as a token of the start of a wonderful process.
I met the first incredible family when the little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The family were devastated with the diagnosis. I had been with them through the scan and while they got the results and I was also involved in their transfer to a paediatric oncology unit. He needed chemotherapy and radiation therapy and he also underwent extensive brain surgery.
”His parents couldn’t believe how happy he was, they said they had never seen him happier - not even on Christmas Day!”
He spent so much time in hospital.
The family spoke to me about their pain and fears for the future. Their words affected me and I wanted them to have something positive to off-set the diagnosis.
Make-A-Wish soon realised how much this little boy loved army tanks and soldiers. They produced an amazing day where he could ride on an army truck and spend the day in the barracks. He couldn’t have been more delighted. His parents couldn’t believe how happy he was, they said they had never seen him happier - not even on Christmas Day!
The second little boy has a severe form of epilepsy that cannot be controlled by medication. He is on a cocktail of powerful medications to try and stop the seizure activity, he has special needs and his parents ensure he has 24 hour care and are always by his side.
”Wishes enabled them to be away from treatments, hospital, doctors and nurses”
He has spent a lot of time in hospital including admission to intensive care. He uses a wheelchair and is a special little boy who is always happy and smiling. He loves Mickey Mouse and his wish was to go to Disneyland. The family had a fabulous time, to see his smile was simply spectacular. The whole family were all rewarded with something so exceptional they will remember it forever.
I am still in touch with both families and it has been a joy to care for them. Both families were delighted to be nominated for a wish, it gave them a determination to be happy as a family.
Wishes enabled them to be away from treatments, hospital, doctors and nurses – and instead in their own world of extraordinary dreams and magic.
I would recommend others working in healthcare to use Make-A-Wish UK. As healthcare professionals we meet special people undergoing exceptional circumstances.
Medical professionals don’t have to worry, the criteria are clear and the referrals are extremely easy to complete. We can refer these children and then let Make-A-Wish UK make their dreams come true.
Donna Blakemore is a paediatric nurse at Walsall General