Gregor was a perfectly healthy toddler until swine flu hit. He battled bravely for months, and spent a long time in hospital. Thankfully, he survived, but the virus left him with brain damage and he needs help to eat and breathe. His family makes good use of our Hospice at Home service.
16-month-old Gregor was a perfectly healthy little boy until he suddenly and inexplicably contracted swine flu. He spent the next 36 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, but it wasn’t immediately clear what the problem was. He bravely battled his illness while the doctors struggled to find out what was wrong.
Thankfully, Gregor survived. But he spent the next 8 months shuttling between Leeds General Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital, where he underwent loads of tests and was slowly nursed back to health.
The impact on Gregor and his family
“It was such a long 9 months,” says Gregor’s mum, Mary. “We were in hospital so long it became like a second home, so I was very relieved when we were finally able to bring Gregor home. But the virus left him with brain damage. He now uses a wheelchair, and he has to be stomach-fed and he needs a tracheostomy to help him breathe. He can also have a seizure at any time, so he needs constant care.”
Despite all of this, Gregor’s family have taken every challenge in their stride. “Things obviously changed a lot after Gregor’s illness, for us and for him. But he’s so positive, and so adaptable: he’s just amazing. He’s still a very happy little boy, always with a big smile on his face. And he’s never demanding, despite all of his problems.”
Getting hospice services at home
Gregor’s family was first contacted by Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in 2012, and started having our Hospice at Home service shortly afterwards.
“The care we get is fantastic,” says Mary. “They come to our house every other Sunday evening, giving Gregor one-to-one attention and helping with his nightly routine. It means we get chance to spend quality time with our other children, Milly and Henry. Sometimes we’ll go out for a meal or a run – it just gives us a break from being on 24-hour duty. And we don’t worry about him, because we know he’s getting excellent care.”
Joining in with the magic at Russell House
Gregor’s family also enjoy attending events at Russell House, and recently had the most magical visit when Princess Beatrice read Gregor a story. You don't get much more exciting than being read a fairytale by a real princess! “We all loved it: we treasure the times we can spend together as a family. Thanks to Forget Me Not, we’re making memories to last a lifetime.”