When Amelia Ford was diagnosed with a heart problem at just a few days old, she was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary.
Arriving in Leeds in the early hours, her dad Nick and mum Charlotte – who was still recovering from a Caesarean section – found themselves thrown into a “nightmare”.
After Amelia had been in hospital a few days, with her parents staying in a “basic” room within the hospital, the couple were given a room in Eckersley House.
The facility, run by the Sick Children’s Trust, is a home-from-home for parents of young patients and is based opposite LGI.
“That house made such a bad situation into a much more bearable one,” Charlotte, from Halifax, said.
“The staff were always so friendly, and also had the experience to know when you may need to talk or be left alone.”
Amelia was born in November 2014 by emergency caesarean section and became grey and became unresponsive at just an hour old.
A few days later, a heart condition was diagnosed and she was transferred to LGI for a lifesaving operation, which she had aged nine days.
“We were very lucky that Amelia came through her heart surgery and out of intensive care and high dependency so quickly. She shocked everyone,” Charlotte added.
She said that Eckersley House was a haven for the family.
“We were away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital and the beeping machines but close enough to be straight back if needed.
“Once she was back on the ward I was able to stay with her, so we gave our room at Eckersley House back. I wanted someone else to have the opportunity to feel that relief and haven that I had in our short stay there.
“The Sick Children’s Trust is such an amazing charity and I cannot thank them enough for all of their hard work to run such a great place for parents like us.
“They helped us so much in our time of need and I will be forever grateful.”
Two years on, Amelia is doing well and her mum supports Eckersley House, including by urging people to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust by getting involved with its Pyjama Party events, which take place next week.
Eckersley House manager Jane McHale said: “It costs The Sick Children’s Trust around £30 to support a family for one night, so by getting involved in the Pyjama Party and raising money will go a long way in helping families like Charlotte and Nick’s stay close to their loved ones.”
* Youngsters at nurseries and playgroups are to be sponsored to dress in their favourite pyjamas to support the Sick Children’s Trust.
Next week, Pyjama Parties will take place all over the country, and adults are encouraged to take part too.
The charity’s celebrity ambassador, Jen Pringle, presenter of Channel 5’s Milkshake, said: “Why not get involved and give thousands of families a Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’, so that they can be close to their seriously ill child?”
For more: Visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org.