When she was young, it looked like Abbie wouldn’t make it past 5 years old.
But Abbie lived until she was 11, and one of her favourite things to do was visiting CHAS.
In 2008, Abbie was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy. She lost the ability to talk and eat and needed around-the-clock care. Her family turned to CHAS for support and were invited to Robin House, one of our hospices. Mum, Lisa, and Dad, Allen, had trepidation and fear about walking through the doors for the first time. However, as soon as they arrived they knew this was a place full of fun.
Christmas, when the decorations are in full glow, was an absolute favourite time for Abbie and she even got the opportunity to switch on the Christmas lights at Loch Lomond Shores in front of thousands of people. Her brother and sister Robyn and Sean were big fans of the festivities too and loved joining in with CHAS Christmas trips, activities and parties.
Mum Lisa has over 2,000 photos from their time with CHAS and fondly speaks of those comforting, "memories that will last for us all".
"There’s nothing worse than losing a child. Apart from having to make that journey alone."
At CHAS, we aim to create a place where families can enjoy all the little things that others can often take for granted – things that can’t be done from a hospital bed. In Abbie’s last hours, her brother and sister, Sean and Robyn joined a party to unveil a huge new play castle in the hospice garden. Sean cut the ribbon whilst mum and dad sat with Abbie in her bedroom overlooking the fun taking place outside. And Abbie had a visit from a very special guest, Princess Elsa from Frozen – who popped into her bedroom for a cuddle.
“If someone dies in a hospital or home you have less control. There’s always someone visiting or at the door. But at Robin House they let us do what we needed to do, in our own time,” Lisa said. “In a hospital, you walk in with someone and you have to leave without them. But at Robin House, we were there with Abbie after she died. That was amazing, it was comforting.”
“We wanted to leave with her as a family for her funeral,” Allen added. “It’s what we wanted and it is what we got.”
This will be the Boyd’s first Christmas without Abbie. Of course it will be tough. But we’ll still be there for them – for as long as they need us.
Allen said "When the family was first told about CHAS it was like we were giving in, giving up hope. But it proved me wrong because it made Abbie’s life, it made her love her life more than we could have done for her."
It’s helped her family rediscover happy times too. As her mum, Lisa, says, "Abbie’s no longer with us, but we can all remember the joy and happiness we shared together thanks to CHAS."