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Demelza Hospice Care marks 10th birthday

PUBLISHED: 17:08 14 March 2019

Phoebe was one of Demelza's first patients. Photo: Demelza

Phoebe was one of Demelza's first patients. Photo: Demelza

Archant

As Demelza Hospice Care for Children celebrates 10 years of providing specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions, one of the first to experience it gives her backing.

The Eltham hospice opened in March 2009 and now continues to offer a lifeline to children, young people and families throughout Bexley and Bromley.

One such family is the Langford family from Bromley.

For parents Pippa and John, the elation of seeing their daughter born was short lived when they witnessed their baby turning blue and put on to ventilation.

Tests revealed baby Phoebe had a rare disorder called congenital hypoventilation syndrome called CCHS.

This means her tiny body was unable to safely expel carbon dioxide when she slept.

The family was put in touch with Demelza but were initially reluctant to access the services on offer at the newly opened hospice in Eltham.

John explained: “We were a bit wary about visiting because of the word ‘hospice’.

“We didn’t know what to expect but once we were given a tour, we knew it would be perfect for Phoebe.

“The staff made us feel so welcome. Phoebe was lucky to be one of the first children to use the new services at Eltham just after it opened. For us as a family, it was a lifeline.”

The family has continued to receive support from the hospice ever since.

Phoebe, who is now nine, said: “I like being able to do my own things. I like drawing pictures to take home in the art room, making slime or playing video games. I love baking and we’re going to make cupcakes next

time I visit.”

Demelza, however, is reliant on the local community through fundraising and volunteering to be able to continue providing care to local children with terminal conditions and their families.

Long time VIP supporter, Len Goodman also backs the important work done at the Eltham unit.

He said: “I’ve congratulate Demelza in Eltham, you have done a fantastic job. Len salutes you.”

And Demelza chief executive Ryan Campbell added: “A heartfelt congratulations to all of the team.”

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