Bedford couple back hospital's festive appeal after being given lifeline when their daughter needed open heart surgery

They are looking forward to spending their first Christmas together
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A couple from Bedford who were given a place to stay close to their baby’s side when she underwent open heart surgery are backing a Christmas appeal to help keep families like theirs together this festive period.

Hayley Partridge and Paul Bryan found themselves 60 miles from home when their eight-week-old daughter needed lifesaving open heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Molly, now six months, was born in June this year pale and floppy. It was discovered she had a low red blood cell count, alongside a large hole in her heart and a smaller heart defect.

Hayley Partridge and Paul Bryan and MollyHayley Partridge and Paul Bryan and Molly
Hayley Partridge and Paul Bryan and Molly

Discussions began with GOSH about scheduling a surgery, and in the meantime Molly was allowed home. However over the following few weeks her condition deteriorated and she was soon admitted to the specialist London hospital.

While Molly underwent and recovered from open heart surgery, Hayley and Paul were given a free place to stay by The Sick Children’s Trust at its Rainbow House. The charity runs 10 ‘homes from home’ giving families a place to stay close to their child’s hospital bedside.

Despite the pandemic, trust has kept its doors open to families, ensuring they can be together and will continue to do so throughout the Christmas holidays.

Thankfully, Molly has recovered well from her surgery and is now looking forward to celebrating her first Christmas.

Molly is looking forward to her first ChristmasMolly is looking forward to her first Christmas
Molly is looking forward to her first Christmas

But as they put up the Christmas tree, Hayley and Paul are thinking about those whose child is in hospital, needing a ‘home from home’ and are are backing The Sick Children’s Trust’s Together this Christmas appeal which is asking for donations of £30 to give a family a place to stay for one night over the festive period.

Hayley said: “Rainbow House was an incredible support and in hindsight afforded us the space to process everything and be rational at an extremely emotional time. Our daughter needing major surgery at such a young age was a lot to take in, but the addition of the coronavirus and restrictions also had an impact.

“I recall my anxiety whilst on route in the ambulance of where we’d stay, what will happen and so on as we expected that her operation date would be further off.

"Fortunately, we barely had time to allow for worrying as everything was sorted and we were told we would have somewhere to stay, at The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘home from home’. We would have slept in the car to be with her."

Molly underwent open heart surgeryMolly underwent open heart surgery
Molly underwent open heart surgery

Jane Featherstone, chief executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said: “Our ‘homes from home’ give families with a seriously ill child in hospital one less thing to worry about. For Hayley and Paul it meant they could be with Molly for the entire day and have somewhere to come back to to rest, without worrying about travel or cost.”

To donate to The Sick Children’s Trust’s Christmas appeal, visit here