Family is thankful for House support

Oliver Self and his sisters Brooke and Ellie.
Oliver Self and his sisters Brooke and Ellie.

A family have thanked hospital staff for the support they received after their young son underwent lifesaving surgery.

Oliver Self was diagnosed with a hole in his heart at just three months old and underwent an operation at the Freeman Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit, spending three days in intensive care.

His parents and two sisters – Brooke, six, and Ellie, 11 – were offered free accommodation by The Sick Children’s Trust at their Scott House facility near the hospital.

And now the family from Blyth have thanked everyone who looked after them at Scott House.

Jackie, Oliver’s mum, said: “Being given a free room was a massive help and I can’t thank The Sick Children’s Trust enough. I was prepared to camp out in my car if I had to, as I wanted to be as close to Oliver’s bed side as possible.

“We only live half-an-hour away from the hospital, but it meant a great deal to have somewhere to stay, as 30 minutes is a long time to travel to see your sick new-born.

“I remember the nurse calling me to say that Oliver was ready for his first feed from a bottle and asked if I would like to do it. I was there within minutes and that meant a lot.

“When your new-born is so poorly, you don’t have the chance to make special memories at home and have to make sure you don’t miss a single thing.

“The Sick Children’s Trust enabled me to share this special moment with my son. If I had been at home, I wouldn’t have been able to get to the hospital in time.”

She added: “House manager Andrew was fantastic. He was really reassuring and made us feel at home.

“It was so nice to have other families in the house too – it’s like a little community. It brings everyone together at a very difficult time and it was helpful to talk to other families about their experiences, because it put our situation into perspective.

“It was such a relief to have private space away from the wards. Sometimes you just needed to escape from the wires and the beeping machines.

“We had a phone in our bedroom which dialled straight to the ward, so when I woke up in the night I could contact the nurses and find out how my little boy was getting on.

“It was reassuring to know I was only two minutes away if I needed to get to him quickly.

“Scott House enabled us to stay together as a family at a very emotional and challenging time in our lives.

“Since our stay in May, we have been fundraising for this fantastic charity to thank them for all their help. They supported us when we needed it most and now we hope to raise enough money to fund a room, so other families can continue to be helped by their great work.”