Little Amelia’s first proper birthday party was due to be held today (May 15th) – but the Coronavirus lockdown has made that impossible.

Instead of meeting up with her friends from nursery for a Frozen-themed afternoon, she will celebrate her fourth birthday quietly with her mum Charlotte and dad Dave. And, instead of presents, the family are asking people to support Hope House with donations to make vital care possible for other children and families.

Amelia is Charlotte and Dave’s first child. The thrilled parents-to-be found out when Charlotte was seven months pregnant that their baby was suffering from a potentially life-threatening heart condition.

“Then Amelia was born five weeks early and she had to spend three months in the neonatal unit,” recalls Charlotte.

Cardiac surgery

“After that she went to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for cardiac surgery and for the first year of her life we bounced in and out of hospital. She had her first birthday in the high-dependency unit at Alder Hey, where we made the best of it with all the family coming along and decorations up.”

Charlotte and Dave brought Amelia back to their home near Oswestry shortly after her first birthday.

“We knew about Hope House because we only lived five minutes away and we knew some of the staff who worked there,” remembers Charlotte.

“But we were still a bit anxious about visiting because, up until that point, we had never left her side and we had been sheltering at hospital or at home having to avoid all germs and everything because of Amelia’s condition.”

Five minutes at Hope House was enough to show the couple that there was nothing to fear. The nurses were incredible with Amelia and the entire hospice was spotless. It felt like home for the whole family.

Time together

“I remember the first time the three of us stayed, the nurses were looking after Amelia and one said, ‘Why don’t you both go and have a glass of wine and spend some time together.’

“It was the first time anyone had said that to us, but it was so lovely to be able to relax and know that Amelia was being looked after by professionals who understood all her needs and knew how to care for her. We all felt so comfortable at Hope House right away.

“It has made such a difference to our lives because we know Amelia is always so content at Hope House and gets totally spoiled by all the staff. It’s nice to see her playing with the other children too, especially the older ones. She’s already made lots of friends.

“When we got married Hope House helped by having Amelia for respite the night before, and afterwards so that we could spend a few nights away together nearby without having to worry that she wouldn’t be happy and safe. That was really special.”

If you would like to support Amelia’s birthday fundraiser with a small gift to help other children and families please click here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/2870285106400092/