THE FAMILY of a three-year-old who underwent a bone marrow transplant has thanked The Sick Children’s Trust for its support.
Eastbourne couple Matt and Charlotte Walters noticed their son Zach wasn’t walking like a normal toddler when he was two and he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Tests showed Zach was born with Hyper IGM Syndrome, which is an immune disorder, and the doctors explained he would need a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy.
The family travelled to London at the end of May 2011 and were given The Sick Children’s Trust’s Home from Home Guilford Street House to stay for 34 days.
Dad Matt said, “This was a massive relief as it took the pressure off us having to find somewhere to stay as there were no rooms at the hospital and we couldn’t afford a hotel.
“The only other option would have been travelling back and forth from Eastbourne every few days but I couldn’t bear to be away from Zach and Charlotte that long.
“Thanks to The Sick Children’s Trust we didn’t have to make that heartbreaking decision.
“I also felt the need to support my wife as it was very emotionally upsetting.
“When we first arrived Zach was placed in isolation as we had to be very careful about what he came into contact with.
“Charlotte stayed by his bedside during this time but for her, and me, seeing our son go from a healthy, sociable young boy to quite a weak child with no hair was heartbreaking and I wanted to not only be there for Zach but also my wife during this time.”
The house was just around the corner from the hospital and Matt and Charlotte could have some space away from the wards and were able to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary together as a family.
Matt said, “For me, it was great to have that space away from the ward and clear my head.
“I would often sit in the lounge at the house and just tune out watching TV early in the morning when I couldn’t sleep.
“Being able to do this gave me peace of mind and helped me get back a little of myself so I could be there for Zach and put all my efforts into staying strong for him.”
Zach is now making a smooth and speedy recovery. Matt added, “Hopefully this will all be a distant memory but I will be forever grateful for the support of The Sick Children’s Trust for keeping my family together and close to my little boy.”