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LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityI have teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio who will be donating to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice from every pack of Fairy Non-Bio Pods and Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Softener sold between now and July 12th. Fairy Non-Bio have committed to make a minimum donation of €25,000 to LauraLynn later this summer.

 

Each day when we wake we never know what encounters lie ahead. That’s the true beauty of life.

A few weeks ago during my lunch break from college I headed up to LauraLynn to do an interview for Xpose and support them for Children’s Hospice Week.

LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, children's charity

I met a young Mum Sam while I was waiting and she introduced me to her beautiful daughter Isabella. As I watched Sam with Isabella I was struck by her energy and how gentle, patient and compassionate she was. As a mum myself I learnt so much from being with her that day and as I sat in the car afterwards I realised that it was Sam’s presence with her daughter that made it so magical.

 

Isabella has a rare neurological disorder and Sam is her full time carer. She also has a son called Alex who is a few years older than Isabella. During the first year of Isabella’s life she was admitted to hospital regularly for seizures. She did not sleep at night and Sam sat by her side watching her just in case anything happened. Bevan, who now works at LauraLynn, was their outreach nurse at the time and he introduced them to LauraLynn recognizing that they couldn’t keep going the way they were.

LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityTHEIR FIRST VISIT

They went out to meet the team expecting it to be very clinical and hospital like and were delighted when it was absolutely nothing like that. LauraLynn has a very homely and welcoming atmosphere. Most importantly Sam knows Isabella’s happy there and she always has a smile on her face when she thinks of LauraLynn now.

 

Isabella was able to stay at LauraLynn for Alex’s first day of school, which meant Sam could focus on Alex and this made him feel special. Sam admits it was hard in the beginning and she would cry and constantly ring checking in on Isabella but she knew she was running on empty and needed a break.

 

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES

Sam and her family get 15 nights overnight care per year. There’s also a range of therapeutic and family support interventions if she feels they need them. Sam admits the respite can be daunting but necessary otherwise they simply can’t function properly. LauraLynn also offer support in the form of a community for families. Some of the children in school with Isabella also attend LauraLynn and to help support each other Sam set up a private Facebook group for “Extra Special Mums”. She said she can go out with special need’s mums and be herself and laugh at silly things with friends in the same situation.

 

Having a child with special needs in Ireland comes with great difficulties, as you have to fight for absolutely everything. You really have to shout and that’s hard especially when you are so tired. Isabella’s medical card was taken off her a few years ago and it put a lot of stress on the family. LauraLynn were incredible during this time and eventually Sam and her family fought and got the card back. You will hear these stories the length and breadth of Ireland as our most vulnerable amongst us suffer.

 

HAVING FUN

Isabella took part in the first LauraLynn Oscars that took place last year. Each child made a movie with the help of industry professionals and Isabella’s brother Alex even had his school involved and they all attended the Oscar’s evening to receive their award.

 

Isabella also performed in a play in the Abbey Theatre and there are family and sibling camps too. All of these events and activities help to make special memories and fulfill these dreams for families.

LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, villena family, childrens charity

Having LauraLynn is a very important part of the Villena’s lives. The charity does so much with and for the children and their families. This essential service is free for all families giving them both relief and respite even if it’s just for a short time.

 

Sam shifted something in me the day I met her. She really touched my heart and for that I will always be grateful. Never underestimate the power one person can have on another. After all we are all in this game of life together.

 

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LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityI have teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio who will be donating to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice from every pack of Fairy Non-Bio Pods and Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Softener sold between now and July 12th. Fairy Non-Bio have committed to make a minimum donation of €25,000 to LauraLynn later this summer.

As you walk in the door of LauraLynn children’s hospice you are greeted by an incredibly warm and loving energy. As I turned to my right there was a quote written on the blackboard:

“Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain

But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.”

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care,

 

The quote made me smile. In fact all the quotes throughout the hospice made me smile because they are loving, encouraging and meaningful. As I walked over to read Lynn’s poem (read it here) at the entrance it was a sharp reminder of how precious life is. I first visited LauraLynn five years ago not long after it had opened so this was my second time to read that poem as I entered. But this time reading that poem felt different. I felt every word of Lynn’s dreams and thought to myself what a beautiful soul.

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Lynn’s poem and The Story of LauraLynn at the entrance

I believe in energy and I believe we are all connected even after we are gone. I realized right there and then why the energy of LauraLynn was so special. It is because you are met with the energy of these two beautiful souls Laura and Lynn as you enter the door.

A PLACE OF HOPE

LauraLynn was created from a place of love and hope and that shows in every aspect of its care. At LauraLynn they look after the whole family including grandparents and siblings. They recognize than when a child is sick it affects everyone so their focus is keeping people connected and tending to their individual needs, which is really beautiful.

As you walk in on the right there is a therapy room, which is a safe place that children can come to and talk in confidence about their feelings and what they are going through personally. Siblings of bereaved families can also come here and avail of therapy, which is important too.

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, therapy room, end of life care,LauraLynn provides palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. There are eight beds and there is always and emergency bed kept free. The rooms are beautiful and the Head of Care, Bevan Ritchie, explained to me that they try and make it a home away from home. Their aim is to make the children and their families as comfortable as possible.

FULL HOLISTIC CARE

Full holistic care for the children is really important so the bathroom so the bathroom is a multi-sensory bathroom where music can be played and the lights change colour while the child basks in their bubble bath.. This is important as a lot of the children are non-verbal and bringing in the sensory aspect helps to calm them and creates a connection and delivers stimulation to the different senses.

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care,There is also a dedicated sensory room where there is a waterbed and for children with physical disabilities the movement of waterbed on their bodies can offer great relief.

There are rooms upstairs where families can stay over with full facilities like a kitchen and a TV room. In one of the children’s bedrooms downstairs there is an adjacent room where parents can sleep. The headboard has outlets for oxygen and medical equipment so if a child is very ill or near the end of their little life parents can get into bed with the child for a cuddle. This removes the clinical hospital feel and allows for memories to be made and quality time to be spent together. This really had an impact on me as my favourite time of the day is getting into bed to cuddle James.

THE BUTTERFLY SUITE

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This was the most difficult part of my visit as I thought of all the parents who have said goodbye to their little angels. ‘The Butterfly Suite’ was created as a special place for families to be near to their children after they have passed away. Butterfly’s have always been a strong symbol of change and transformation to me and even when I have lost people close to me in my own life I always imagine them being transformed into beautiful energy. The physical part of them is gone but their energy and the memories last forever.

LauraLynn Memory

LauraLynn provide psychological, social, spiritual and bereavement support for the entire family during this difficult time. Their end of life care also ensures maximum physical comfort for your child through the management of pain and other symptoms that they may have.

Overall I left LauraLynn with a warm heart full of hope. The community and support parents and children get from a dedicated staff and support team is truly incredible.

We all see the world through our personal eyes and our view of the world is shaped from our experiences. Five years ago on my first visit I was very much still adjusting to life back in Ireland as a single mum. Personally I was struggling greatly and my visit to LauraLynn filled me with love and hope. On this visit I saw so much more. I saw a center that treats everyone as an individual where everyone gets seen as himself or herself and that’s rare. The holistic care ensures that all aspects of a person are treated and that each child’s life is lived to the full no matter what their condition.

And I’ll leave you with Tinkerbell’s words:

“You know that place between sleep & awake,

The place where you can still remember Dreaming

That’s where I’ll always love you

That’s where I’ll be waiting”

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care, Tinkerbells words

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LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityI have teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio who will be donating to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice from every pack of Fairy Non-Bio Pods and Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Softener sold between now and mid-July. Fairy Non-Bio have committed to make a minimum donation of €25,000 to LauraLynn later this summer.

 

THE HISTORY OF LAURALYNN

LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice was born out of the sadness of the tragic loss of Jane and Brendan McKenna’s only children, Laura and Lynn. Laura passed away in August 1999 at the age of 4, following surgery to repair a heart defect. Her big sister Lynn died less than 2 years later, in April 2001, at the age of 15. Lynn had leukemia, which was diagnosed on the day of Laura’s last surgery.

 

Having dealt personally with such serious illness both Jane and Brendan saw a huge need for a ‘Home from Home’ for children with life threatening and life limiting conditions. In 2003 they set up the ‘LauraLynn Children’s Hospice Foundation’ to raise funds to build Ireland’s first Children’s Hospice.

 

In 2007 they were approached by representatives of the ‘Children’s Sunshine Home’ which is their current location. The following year the two organisations merged and LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice was born. As a result of this Ireland’s first Children’s Hospice became a reality in 2011.

 

The main aim of LauraLynn is to provide palliative care to children with life-limiting conditions both in their hospice facility and the child’s own home. They also very importantly provide special care and respite to parents and siblings, helping them to cope with their difficult situation and to have fun time together as a family making memories.

 

They are committed to improving the quality of children’s palliative care in Ireland and their Clinical Education and Training Department provides training programmes tailored to meet the key needs of the evolving disciplines required by health professionals working in this relatively new space.

 

The history of the hospice actually dates back to 1925 when it was a convalescent home. Dr Ella Webb, a pioneering Dublin pediatrician of her time, treated many cases of children with rickets.  With the support of a dedicated group including Ms. Letitia Overend, they saw the need to provide medical care within a residential setting, where tenement children with rickets could be given an opportunity to recover fully, before returning to home.

 

Funding at the time came from voluntary donations and this early ethos of providing care for disadvantaged children has continued to motivate those who work and continue to work and volunteer at LauraLynn today.

 

Brendan and Jane’s daughter Lynn wrote this beautiful poem I would love to share with you:

LynnS DREMA, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charity

 

The Fairy Non-Bio ‘Care for Others’ campaign will help to support the LauraLynn@Home care which is offered in 11 counties in Ireland. This will enable children with life-limiting conditions and their family to access palliative care and support within their own home. For further information click here.

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