From Pressat/ Sick Children’s Trust
A Hessle mum whose daughter was born with multiple heart defects and needed surgery at a few months old is thanking The Sick Children’s Trust for keeping her family together.
Louise Cowton, 37, had given up any hope of having a child however last year she found out that she was pregnant with daughter Eliana. Her dream was soon shattered as at her 20 week scan, Louise and husband Richard were told that their daughter had a heart condition and was unlikely to survive.
Despite this prognosis, Eliana turns two years old in February having had major heart surgery at six months old. In addition, in December 2019 she underwent two emergency surgeries on her bowel as a scan revealed it was back to front and had also folded in on itself. Throughout her treatment at Leeds Children’s Hospital, which is 60 miles from their home, Louise and Richard have managed to remain by Eliana’s side with help from The Sick Children’s Trust which gives families with seriously ill children in hospital a place to stay in its ‘Homes from Homes’. The couple have stayed at Eckersley House which is just a few minutes’ walk from the children’s wards. Louise, who donated gift sets to the charity for families staying at Eckersley House over Christmas, said:
“Eliana coming along was a miracle in our eyes and it was so important that we focused on that. The day after our scan in Hull we were sent to Leeds General Infirmary where would be looked after as the children’s hospital was equipped to take care of Eliana’s multiple and complex heart defects. We didn’t have much time to stop and think. We just had to keep going.
“We felt very lucky to be given a room at Eckersley House. We honestly had no idea what to expect but the staff were so reassuring and kind to us and we instantly felt at home. Everything you could possibly need was catered for.
“The times Eliana has needed to be in the paediatric intensive care unit or high dependency we knew we would be unable to sleep by her side. That’s when knowing you have a bed at Eckersley House is such a reassurance as you’re only a stone’s throw away. Strangers caring for you at a time you have no energy to care for yourself because everything you have is being poured into your poorly child – is a feeling I can’t describe.
“Eliana is doing really well at the minute and we take things day by day. She will need further heart surgery and possible surgery on her skull as she has a rare condition called craniosynostosis in which her skull hasn’t developed properly. Whether her care remains palliative or whether a more promising outcome is ahead we just don’t know but we’re grateful for being here and being together in the here and now.”
The Sick Children’s Trust has kept its doors open to families throughout the pandemic but due to cancelled fundraising events expects to lose 25-30% of its income. Jane McHale, Eckersley House Manager, said:
“Our ‘Homes from Home’ give families a warm and comfortable place after a long and often emotionally exhausting day on the ward. It is so important for families to be able to rest whilst being safe in the knowledge that they aren’t far from their little one.
“Louise and Richard have stayed with us at Eckersley House a few times now, one being for four months after Eliana had her open heart surgery and for a month over Christmas. All they wanted was to be close by to Eliana and having a place to stay at Eckersley House meant that they could do just that.
“The Sick Children’s Trust continues to be there for families, despite the pandemic, keeping families together when it matters most. We do however rely on donations to keep our doors open and would encourage anyone to visit our website to find out how to help keep families together.”