2021 is the 10th anniversary of our children's hospice being built. Here, one of our bereaved mums shares what Russell House means to her.
Susan Mountain’s daughter Maci tragically died of a brain tumour in 2017, aged just 13. Maci spent the last few days of her life at Russell House.
“Russell House was like a home from home, somewhere safe and special for us all to be together, out of the hospital environment." Susan says.
"When we first arrived, someone asked us what we wanted for our tea. I was so shocked. We’d got so used to living on sandwiches and out of a vending machine at the hospital, we couldn’t believe someone was offering to make us some food!
"Maci was well cared for at the hospital, but it’s not the same. It’s clinical, more structured, there are more rules. It felt out of my control. At Russell House, it was about what we wanted. The whole family could be here, Maci’s little sister Ruby could play on the swing in the garden, I could have a bath, we could all have Sunday dinner – and still be close to Maci.
"It meant everything to know someone was always with Maci if we weren’t. To be told that, even after she’d died, that ‘don’t worry, we’ll sit with her, she won’t be alone’. It was like having a friend stood next to you.
"You never think you’ll need a place like Russell House. But what happened to me could happen to anyone. We feel lucky that we were able to come to Russell House, to spend time with Maci somewhere comfortable, somewhere like home.
"That’s why I keep raising money – to help other families in the same situation. And because Maci would have wanted me to. She raised money for the hospital while she was ill. I’d never done any fundraising before. You don’t think about it until something bad happens. But now, if I can help other families, in Maci’s name, then that’s what I’ll do.
"For me, Russell House is where Maci is. That’s why I come here. And why I fundraise for Forget Me Not. I want Russell House to always be here. For me and for other families like mine.”
Visit our special 10th anniversary webpage for details on how you can help us continue to be here for families like Maci's.