I remember the night Aideen was born, I went home that night with the biggest smile on my face.
The next morning when I went to the hospital, I was told there was something wrong. Aideen was sent to Temple Street Hospital for tests and she stayed for a week and then it was back to Drogheda for a few weeks.
I remember thinking everything is going to be fine, maybe it’s something simple that can be sorted. After about a month we took Aideen home and as the weeks went on and more and more tests showed up nothing, I began to realize that this isn’t going to be sorted. Something is wrong.
Aideen was born on the 18 September 2006 and is now 7 years old and in a wheelchair. She can’t walk or talk. She is a brilliant little girl and despite all the hardships that she has endured with genetic testing, she has such a placid nature and we are blessed to be her parents.
In 2011 Aideen’s Liaison Nurse told us about LauraLynn. It had been only opened about 6 months at the time and asked if we would be interested in respite for Aideen. Myself and my wife Sheona felt we couldn’t leave Aideen on her own as we had attachment issues.
We arranged a visit to LauraLynn and were very impressed with the whole place; they even had accommodation for the parents to stay.
I remember the first time Aideen stayed, myself and Sheona and our two boys stayed over. The boys thought that this was great! LauraLynn has been like a home from home for Aideen. She loves the sensory room and the sensory bath and the staff at LauraLynn does a fantastic job with Aideen and all the children who are lucky enough to stay at LauraLynn.
What LauraLynn means to us as a family
Aideen is the heart of our family, along with her two younger brothers. When Aideen is in respite it gives us a chance to spend some quality time with them. At home a lot of the time it seems to be about Aideen. They are young and so don’t understand, but have mentioned to us that we spend more time with Aideen than them.
During the summer LauraLynn held a sibling day in Barretstown. Aideen was taken into LauraLynn for the night and my wife and I took our two boys to Barretstown for the day. The boys had a great time climbing, canoeing, archery and lots more. Lauralynn also have a family day when all the families are invited for a fun-filled day for all the children; and parents get to meet and have a chat.
Next week my wife and I are going away for a few days on our own, which hasn’t happened for a few years. Getting someone to look after our two boys is no problem, but only for LauraLynn taking Aideen, a break together would not be possible. We can relax knowing Aideen is in good hands. We can even Skype Aideen and talk and see her as every room is equipped with a monitor for TV, radio and built in PC with Skype allowing parents to check in on their child while they are in respite.
Our heartfelt thanks to LauraLynn and all the staff for all the great work and dedication to children and their families.
Chris (Aideen’s Dad), October 2013.