49,000 children and young people are living in the UK with health conditions that are life-limiting or life-threatening—and the number is rising. That’s one in every 270 children—the equivalent of one in every school.
Hearing the news that your child has a life-limiting condition and is likely to die young is devastating. It’s an incredibly distressing and confusing time. These children have very complex and unpredictable conditions and often need round the clock care, seven days a week.
Meet some of the families.
Meet Effie, the face of our Christmas appeal this year.
12-year-old Ruby has got various symptoms which have developed over many years. She has lots of diagnoses, but no defined condition, which means her symptoms are difficult to manage.
David, DD as his family called him, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour, aged 11 and died when he was 16 years old. David’s mum, Sacha, describes how her family chose to support her son at home once treatment was no longer available.
Vital respite and short break care has been life-changing for Dougie, Beth and Antony.
Jack Bleakney was diagnosed with Menkes disease when he was just three months old, and his family's world fell apart. His mother Judith recounts his story, and the support Jack and the family received from Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.
Mum Amanda shares how a diagnosis left her family without words, but didn’t take away their ability to love life together.
After failing to reach a number of milestones, Joshua was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a terminal muscle wasting condition. In Joshua's story, his mum Karen explains why Christmas is so important to their family.
8-year old Zoë has osteopathia striata with cranial sclerosis (OS-CS), a rare genetic bone dysplasia which causes motor skills developmental delay. She also uses a tracheostomy to help her breathe. She also has a rare disorder called Moyamoya, which causes chronic headaches and mini-strokes.
When Daniel was nine months old he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He underwent surgery to remove the tumour but his parents were told that it was a very rare, aggressive tumour and it was unlikely to respond to chemotherapy. His family decided to take Daniel home. So he could spend the rest of his life in the loving environment of the family home.
Harry was diagnosed with cancer when he was five and a half years old. Within a week he was given chemotherapy and started 12 months of treatment including radiotherapy and a nine hour operation. Harry has now been in remission for over two years but has been left with a number of health issues. Despite what he has been through Harry continues to smile and enjoy life.