We’d like to introduce you to the courageously beautiful Eloise. When only 21 months old Eloise received the shock diagnosis of Leukaemia and Eloise and her family were supported by one of our chosen charities for the Christmas Jamborees, Kamran’s Ward at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital.
We are proud to be supporting Kamran’s ward this Christmas.
This is Eloise’s story, told by her Mummy, Charlotte Russell.
I had been bringing my daughter, Eloise, to Salt Box Music classes since she was just a few weeks old. She loved the music and the sensory aspects and I loved taking her and the social aspect!
When Eloise was 21 months old she was diagnosed with Leukaemia. She had been poorly for a few months with coughs and infections but when we got the diagnosis just hours after a blood test, it was a massive heart wrenching shock. We couldn’t believe that our little girl had cancer.
Kamran’s Ward in the JR was going to be where Eloise and we, her family, would be spending much of our time. But from our first day on Kamran’s Ward, it felt like we had become part of a special unit, a family almost. Although initially scary, Kamran’s Ward and the staff in it were welcoming and friendly and did everything they could to help all of us whilst we were there. Eloise would need two and a half years of chemotherapy – mainly as an outpatient after the first initial chemo treatment but sometimes she would be rushed for antibiotics and monitoring. Amazingly, Eloise enjoyed being on the ward. She loved playing in the play room – packed with toys, dressing up outfits (who wouldn’t want to be a princess whilst having a lumbar puncture?!), DVDs etc. Every day the play specialists would put out new arts and crafts, themed toy areas, activities. Anything to keep the children entertained and distracted. Children would be having chemotherapy, blood transfusions right there in the play room! They would read them books, blow bubbles and cuddle a baby sibling if they could see mum needed a 5 minute break for a coffee.
As a family we would stay overnight with her if she needed to stay in hospital. In the morning we could go into the kitchen area and make toast and cereal for our children for breakfast… but also ourselves. We could make a cup of tea or coffee and just try and be a bit normal. Little things like that are so important.
Also, there were snack bags with sandwiches and crisps and fruit available 24 hours for the children if they wanted it – especially if they were on steroids (which makes you constantly hungry) or after a morning of fasting for a procedure.
And all these little things cost a lot of money so I know how valuable charity donations are to Kamran’s Ward. I’m thrilled that Michelle and the team at Salt Box Music have offered to support the ward and our story.
Eloise successfully finished her treatment for leukaemia in June 2014 and is now in remission. Her condition still plays on my mind although I try not to think about it too much. I’ve not got too much time to think about it as we have had 2 more children in the last 3 years (!) – both of whom have attended Salt Box Music and my littlest daughter, Emilie is a regular attendee! We love it!