“The staff are amazing, the whole experience – it just means so much to have that available.”

St Oswald’s Hospice has been providing monthly, short breaks for 12-year-old Michael Abraham for five years, and parents, Karen and Brian, can’t praise the Children and Young Adults Service enough.

Mum, Karen, explained:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is just an amazing place. It’s somewhere Michael can come and he can have a sleepover and we know he gets the best of care and he has so much fun. He loves the whole experience.”

The Children and Young Adults Service provides fun-filled, short breaks and a home-from-home environment to babies, children and young adults with life-limiting conditions – all supported by the wonderful team of staff and volunteers.

Michael, who turns 13 the beginning of October, has touched hearts among many at the hospice with his smiley outlook.

Matron, Jocelyn Thompson, who manages the service said:

“Despite it being a very tough life for him, Michael is an adorable boy, full of smiles.”

Jocelyn went on to explain that Michael has a rare life-limiting condition that impacts every aspect of his life.

“This condition means that Michael uses a wheelchair, has learning difficulties and suffers from multiple complex seizures, leading to many sleepless nights. Michael can’t talk in the same way we do or eat and so is fed through a feeding tube in his tummy. He needs constant supervision to keep him safe and 24-7 care to ensure his needs are met.”

Mum and Dad have no worries about Michael’s needs being met at St Oswald’s Hospice, as Brian pointed out:

“It’s somewhere we can bring him to and we know when we leave him, he’s going to have the best of care. You don’t have to worry or anything. He’s in more than capable hands of looking after him.”

Michael has monthly, three-night stays at St Oswald’s Hospice, where he receives one-to-one nursing care. He sometimes suffers from seizures and can be very unwell. However, a lot of the time, Michael is his smiley, happy self and enjoys his short break.

Karen added:

“He’s done so many things, he’s been surfing, he goes on day trips and he loves music therapy. There’s so many things the Hospice do with him and he just loves everything. The staff are amazing, the whole experience – it just means so much to have that available.”

Karen is also keen to point out that it’s not just Michael who benefits from the care at St Oswald’s Hospice.

“It’s our only time, aside from school, that we have a break and know that he’s somewhere safe. Because Michael’s condition is really complicated and a lot of people won’t have him, he needs somewhere like the hospice where he gets the best of care and he’s safe so we don’t have to worry.”

Brian agreed:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is great. We’re really thankful he has the opportunity to come here. But it’s not just the looking after Michael, it’s the support they give to us as parents as well. They’re just a phone call away if we ever need them. They’re involved with everything and have even support with some of the meetings we’ve had with Michael’s school. They’ve been there and helped us with the decisions that we’ve wanted to happen. To have their backing is great.”

Angela Egdell, Director of Care Services, said:

“Everything we do is aimed at keeping children and young people, like Michael, at the centre of the care that’s provided.”

St Oswald’s Hospice is all about quality time for everyone. That’s why Children’s Activities Coordinator, Lauren Archibald, is part of the team and responsible for bringing the fun and making special memories for the children.

Lauren said:

“We love doing what we do for the children and seeing them smile. The little moments created every day and everything we do at the hospice means the world to the families and children who access our service.”

If you’d like to support the important work of St Oswald’s Hospice for people like Michael, you can make a donation here.

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