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NORTH KENT: Leukaemia daughter parents feel lucky to have EllenorLions
11:51am Wednesday 26th May 2010 in News
Despite having a daughter diagnosed with leukaemia, Amelia Baulch’s mother tells DAVID MILLS how lucky they feel thanks to the fantastic support from EllenorLions Hospice.
LEARNING your child has leukaemia is every parent’s worst nightmare.
But nearly two years after Lynsey and David Baulch’s four-year-old daughter Amelia was diagnosed with the disease, her parents feel they are lucky and have tried to treat her illness as a positive experience.
The discovery of Amelia’s illness began when she broke her arm in November 2008.
She never fully recovered and instead became pale, lethargic and complained of pain in her eye.
When they took her to hospital for tests, there were fears she had a brain tumour yet scans revealed it was a bad case of sinusitis.
But for the Baulch family, their world seemed to have come to an end when they were told further tests had found Amelia had leukaemia.
Lynsey, aged 30, said: “We could hear the doctors speaking but couldn’t hear what they were saying. Our little girl, how could this be? We were in the worst nightmare ever.”
Amelia was rushed by ambulance to Great Ormond Street Hospital where within 24 hours she began chemotherapy.
Lynsey, a primary school teacher, said: “As a parent you’re meant to protect your children and all of a sudden we literally went from a child who was incredibly well to a child desperately ill overnight.
“You feel so helpless and dumbstruck and don’t know what to do with yourself.”
It was at Great Ormond Street where the Baulch family met nurses from the EllenorLions Hospices’ children and young people’s service.
They explained they could help by visiting Amelia at her home in Bexleyheath instead of her having to go to hospital for her weekly blood tests.
Lynsey said: “Our initial reaction was ‘hospice’ we don’t need a hospice, she’s not dying and anyway we can cope.
“But the wheels went in motion and the EllenorLions nurses started to visit.
“We now know all the EllenorLions team but more importantly they all know Amelia.
“We feel so lucky we have this facility on our doorstep.
“They are great with Amelia, so child friendly.
“Amelia looks forward to them coming; we regard them as part of our family.”
As a result of the fantastic care Amelia has received, her family have been inspired to organise fundraising events which have generated almost £20,000 for the hospice and Great Ormond Street.
Earlier this month they held a butterfly ball attended by 200 people raising more than £4,500.
And next month Amelia’s father David, aged 30, will cycle more than 200 miles from London to Paris in four days, having already raised around £10,000.
Despite the traumas of the last couple of years, Amelia wears a smile on her face and the Baulch family have tried to look at her illness as a positive experience.
Lynsey said: “We could wallow in self pity but the fact is we feel lucky. Who would think that your little girl could have leukaemia and you would feel lucky? Amelia has astounded doctors and nurses.
“We have learnt to appreciate life, enjoy being a family and take every opportunity that comes along.”
CARING FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
EllenorLions’ children and young people’s services consist of a lead nurse, five specialist palliative care nurses, two nursery nurses, a youth worker, play therapist, music therapist, 10 part time nurses, nursery nurses, support workers and volunteers.
The hospice-at-home service cares for 80 youngsters with a life-threatening or life-limiting condition.
As well as nursing care, families get short breaks to give parents a rest.
Children of adult patients also get respite time.