67 Miles Away from Ward 31

“Our son Archie, now 9 years old was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) mid-August 2018. He spent 7 months in Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) on the Children’s Oncology and Haematology Ward 31 being treated by the lovely doctors and nurses. As Archie was receiving intense chemotherapy he only had a handful of days at home in between his four sessions.

Archie lives in a village East of Hull with mum, dad, his twin sister Connie and his little sister Alice. This was a total distance of 67 miles away from LGI so this was creating major problems for us, so being the first family to be offered a room in the newly renovated Candlelighters cottage was amazing. We jumped at the chance to stay there and couldn’t believe how nice it was when we were shown around.

When you are living in a hospital month after month you can soon go crazy, so having use of a bright, modern, cosy, spacious house complete with all mod cons was very much appreciated. The cottage really helped us with ‘Archie’s Journey’ as a whole. It relieved the pressure of the logistical nightmare and vastly improved our mental state.

The cottage enabled Archie’s sisters to stay over at the weekend and during the school holidays so that we could be a family and have a little snippet of normality without paying ridiculous hotel fees. Grandma and Grandad alternated their stay during the week which was great as whichever parent spent the night with Archie then had the option to go to the cottage and freshen up, do some washing or catch up on some much needed sleep.

When on chemotherapy your taste buds can change daily and it didn’t take long for Archie to lose interest in the hospital food provided. On the ward there was only a microwave and a fridge, so when Archie was well enough we were able to do some proper cooking in the oven with some of his favourite meals and all sit around a table – the nice little things like this that you take for granted at home.

It was also a very much welcomed change of scenery for us all and Archie looked forward to his time there. We played board games, completed jigsaws, plugged his Playstation in or just sprawled out on the sofas and watched TV together and it felt like home for the few hours we were there. We spent all of Christmas and New Year in Leeds General Infirmary so again having a ‘nice warm home’ to go to made Christmas bearable.

For us as a family the Cottage was a lifeline and we are truly grateful to have been able to use this amazing facility and are very thankful for the support Candlelighters gave us throughout our hospital stay.”

Written by Andy and Tina (Archie’s Parents)

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