With the extreme hot weather we’re currently experiencing, a family’s first thought might to head to the local pool for a cooling dip. However, when a child has a life-limiting condition, a simple swimming trip may not be possible. Some of the families we support are told it’s not safe to take their child swimming, while others find using a public pool a difficult environment. At both hospices we have specially adapted hydrotherapy pools, available for the whole family to come and have fun, memorable experiences and enjoy the many physical benefits hydrotherapy can provide.

Recently Ayden, his mum Charmain, and Godmother Lisa visited our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House, for a very special session in the pool, which allowed Charmain to properly hold her son for the first time in two years.

For many of the babies, children, and young people we support, mobility and movement can be restricted and painful. Hydrotherapy can provide many physical benefits such as helping muscle tone and strength and enabling mobility not possible out of water.

For some families using our hydrotherapy pools is the first time they’ve been able to take their child swimming and offers a wonderful chance to create memories together.

Eight-year-old Ayden has a very rare condition Börjeson-Forssman-Lehamann syndrome (BFLS) which requires him to need round the clock care due to his complex needs. Since mum, Charmain had a stroke in 2020, she’s been unable to pick up or hold Ayden – until the family visited us to have a session in our hydrotherapy pool.

Charmain explained what the session meant to her, “With the access and help of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices this was the first time I was able to physically hold Ayden for longer than one minute. It was truly amazing and such a special occasion, day, and moment for us. It was great to experience it with Lisa too, she’s Ayden’s Godmother, and my amazing bestie, who came to support me emotionally and enjoy some Ayden time too.”

Ayden’s Godmother, Lisa said, “It was lovely to meet the care team and I’d like to say thank you to them for their help and support.”

Lisa continues, “Charmain and Ayden really enjoyed their time together and I know Charmain really appreciated the quality time she got to spend with Ayden. She was able to finally hold Ayden for the first time in almost two years without fear of dropping him and without causing significant pain to her. She was overjoyed to have this opportunity and really does treasure the time they had. I can say without a doubt, she’ll be booking future dates for this.

“I want to pass on our genuine appreciation and thanks to the team at the hospice who helped facilitate this precious time.”

We can only make experiences like this possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters, find out more about the other vital services we can provide to families, and please consider donating so we can continue to create wonderful memories for families.