Precious time together for Debbie Chapman and husband Dave is one of the gifts being made possible by the Demelza children’s hospice.
The couple, from Broadstairs, are parents to seven-year-old Archie Page, who is living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and little brother Jack.
Archie cannot talk, walk, stand or sit unaided. He also cannot eat or drink and has to be fed via a tube into his stomach. He requires 24 hour care and needs weekly therapies to help manage his disability.
Archie’s condition is due to a serious haemorrhage he suffered before birth, when mum Debbie was 32 weeks pregnant.
Against the odds Archie survived and Debbie and Dave have striven to make his life as inclusive and comfortable as possible. Just over four years ago the Thanet community and businesses including Parkland Estates, rallied to help the family build a sensory garden and a new bedroom and wetroom for Archie.
The campaign gathered such pace that many isle residents now regularly follow Archie’s progress on facebook.
Now Debbie has taken part in a Christmas fundraising video for Demelza to highlight the work of the hospice’s care at home project.
Demelza is aiming to raise £30,000 to help fundthe scheme which offers vital respite to children and their families in the comfort of their own home, whilst reducing isolation for parents and carers.
In the run up to Christmas, Demelza’s Care at Home sessions can make life for families that little bit easier by giving them more precious time together.
For Debbie and Dave, who have used the service since it launched this year, this means precious time together, trusting the team at Demelza to give Archie the kind of care they thought only they could give their little boy.
Debbie said: “ Christmas isn’t something we can plan in our house because Archie makes the rules and the winter months are a difficult time for trying to keep him stable. We’re going to try and make it as special as we can for his brother Jack, and thanks to the Care at Home team, we’ll be taking him to his first pantomime which will be a lovely experience for him, his dad and me.
“Archie will love getting spoilt rotten with lots of extra hugs and attention from the Demelza ladies this year.
“My one wish this Christmas would be to have many more. We just want as many Christmases that we can have, that’s all we want.
“Archie is a happy, calm, sensitive little boy who just wants to be part of the family. Jack now wants to go out to places like the park and it is getting more difficult as Archie grows.
“Archie is so lovely and for a little boy who can’t say anything, his happiness is all in his face when he smiles and laughs. We have our difficulties and obstacles and sometimes it is not easy but Archie is worth all of that and more. We just want him to be happy.”
Ryan Campbell, Chief Executive at Demelza, said: “Our Care at Home service launched this year and is a lifeline to many of the families we work with, allowing them to access support without facing the upheaval of travelling to one of our hospices, spending time in their own homes or popping out to do those everyday tasks you take for granted, safe in the knowledge their child is in expert hands”.
To donate go to https://www.demelza.org.uk/Christmas or text ‘CARE’ to 70470 to donate £3.