Mum who felt lockdowns were wasting Erin's 'precious life' praises hospice

Helen Sadler with daughter Erin

Colchester mum Helen Sadler with daughter Erin - Credit: EACH

An Essex mum of a child with complex health needs has described a children's hospice as being "a light" in her life during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Helen Sadler, from Colchester, said the impact of Covid-19 restrictions made her feel like her daughter Erin's "precious life" was being wasted. 

But Helen was able to receive help from East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), who took the pressure off during the challenging lockdowns. 

Erin, who is seven years old, lives with various conditions including some that affect her heart, kidneys and liver. 

Helen Sadler with daughter Erin

Helen Sadler said EACH's Ipswich hospice has been "a light" during the coronavirus pandemic - Credit: EACH

Helen said: "Our four walls have become very overwhelming. One of my main frustrations with lockdowns is it feels like we’re just wasting Erin’s precious life.

"We’ve never been able to go far due to her medical needs and we’ve always been limited on the places we can go, but the pandemic has meant we’ve been completely confined to our home, and unable to even go for walks.”

As soon as it became possible following the start of the pandemic, Helen and Erin started visiting The Treehouse, EACH's hospice in Ipswich.

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“We have no routine other than medications and caring for Erin is constant, and very intense," Helen said. 

"I don’t think you can explain the exhaustion unless you go through it yourself. Knowing we have that trip to EACH is a light and just takes the pressure off.

"I know that one day a week I’ll be able to have a little break. I have no time for self-care.

"For Erin it’s a day out. Being in the EACH garden has been the first time she’s been able to go on a swing.

"Normal swings aren’t suitable for her, but The Treehouse has one we can put her wheelchair on. It’s something so simple, but it brings her so much joy and is something most families could easily take for granted."

Erin Sadler on the swing at The Treehouse in Ipswich

Erin on the swing at The Treehouse in Ipswich - Credit: EACH

During this Children's Hospice week (June 21-27), EACH is calling on people to pledge their support following a year in which the charity saw severe impact to its fundraising and retail operations.

Tracy Rennie, EACH director of care, said: “Every day, our teams of nurses, therapists, wellbeing mental health specialists and carers do whatever it takes to support families of children with life-threatening conditions.

"From driving cross country to providing hands-on symptom management or end-of-life care to a child, or adapting to social distancing by delivering counselling online rather than in-person, there are no limits to what we’ll do to deliver the best care.

“Children’s hospices are charities and while we receive some funding from the government we’re almost entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters from communities across East Anglia.

"We simply couldn’t do what we do without those who care deeply about how families of children with life-threatening conditions are pushed to their limits.”

To find out more about supporting EACH, click here

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