“When Eva’s at the hospice, she loves the Art Room. She goes there as soon as she arrives. She also loves music and the music therapist Wendy, who she sings chart songs with.”
Eva’s mum Jenny explains why her daughter loves coming to Claire House, and how her fun-loving attitude rubs off on those around her.
“When Eva’s coming for respite at Claire House, everyone knows about it; she tells her friends, everyone on the street – anyone who will listen. She is so proud to be going and she loves it,” says her mum.
“Eva started coming for short breaks and we’d stay as a family; me, her nan and her twin sister, Hannah. Then the pandemic came and she had to come alone. Now she always goes on her own and really looks forward to it.”
Eva, who is 13, contracted meningitis when she was a few weeks old and had to be put into an induced coma. Although she recovered, she now has developmental delays, neurological issues, is visually impaired and uses a wheelchair. She also has Cerebral Palsy, like her twin sister. This means she needs specialist care, day and night.
“You could spend years crying, moaning and wishing, but it’s not going to change anything is it? So, you make the best of what you’ve got. I think that Eva has that notion as well.
“She’s really relaxed and chilled, easy like Sunday morning. She has lots of friends and always wants to have people over. She’d have a party every day if she could.”
Eva also has her own way of winning people over. “She’s a very giving person. If she likes you, or if it’s an introduction, she makes a card. She loves doing it.”
Angharad from our hospice team agrees; “I was the first person Eva met at Claire House four years ago. She made me a card and I still treasure it.”
Jenny continues; “When Eva is in the hospice I get to have one to one time with Hannah. We have a meal, go to the cinema or do each other’s make up and end up looking like clowns.”
Claire House was also there for Jenny and her family during a really difficult time. “Hannah was really ill and my mum was in hospital, I thought gosh who am I going to reach out to?
“When you have kids with additional needs it’s not like anyone can have them. Eva needs changing, and she has got to be in a house that a wheelchair can get in. But when I phoned Claire House, they said give us a minute, then they phoned back and said they’d come and collect her. She stayed for eight days. So, I know if I need them, they will be here.
“When Eva’s at the hospice, she’ll talk to anyone about anything. She loves the art room. She goes there as soon as she arrives. She also loves music and the music therapist Wendy, who she sings chart songs with.
“She loves Katy Perry, and Phil Collins’ song Another Day in Paradise. She really likes karaoke, if she doesn’t know the words; she’ll just make them up but keep the tune.”
Eva also loves dancing. “If you see her at the Claire House parties you think she’s going to topple out of her wheelchair. She dances so hard, you have to put the brakes on. She can really move.
“She’s so happy. It’s been a godsend, I don’t like to think what it would be like without this service.
“People think that hospices are places that you go to die, but for Eva it’s where she can go and meet children with similar or different disabilities and be cared for.
“There is nothing clinical about it, it is homely and nurturing. As the entire family can stay, you can check on your child whenever you want, it’s open and accommodating.
“It gives me a warm feeling – like being part of one big happy family,” said Jenny.