“The first time that we heard of The Donna Louise was when our Consultant told us that Mckayla was not going to survive. We were given the choices of leaving Mckayla in hospital, taking her home or moving her to the hospice. We knew straight away that the first two options were not what we wanted, so she arranged for us to come straight over and view the facilities and speak with the team at The Donna Louise.

From the moment we first stepped into the reception area we knew that this was the right decision not just for us but also for Mckayla and for our 6 year old Son, Finley. Although we visited still very much in shock after having just been told about Mckayla, we received a very warm welcome and were made to feel at home straight away.

The following day we moved Mckayla into the care of The Donna Louise, as well as me, my husband and Finley. We were taken to what would be our room with Mckayla and it was very welcoming and cosy, even with her name on the door with a beautiful Dolphin which was her favourite. Something we hadn’t told them, yet they knew. Throughout that first day, the staff made us feel at ease and brought us endless cups of tea and food to eat. But most of all, they spoke to Mckayla (who was in a coma) with the most upmost respect and care, which was wonderful to see and hear. Finley was made to feel like he was on a week of activities. Staff kept him entertained from morning to night, he forgot about the sadness during our stay and would run in bursting to tell us what he had been playing and something he relayed to Mckayla every night before camping out of her bedroom floor, which he loved to do every night.

Without the help, support and care of The Donna Louise, Mckayla’s last week would have been a lot more stressful for us. You made sure that she was comfy and warm at all times and pain free which is something we wanted so badly. The staff would even sit and read her stories whilst we went for Lunch.

On the day that Mckayla did pass away, the amazing support continued. They rang other family members for us and told them the news, took care of Finley and didn’t once rush us in saying our goodbyes to her, we were given as much time with her as we felt we needed. The support carried on once she was moved to the ‘Garden Room.’

None of it was how we would have imagined, and this is why it’s so important for us as a family to now continue raising funds for the amazing service that The Donna Louise gives, and for us to be able to give something back. The Donna Louise was there in our time of need and now I want to be able to spread the word and work alongside the amazing people who make such an awful time so much better.”