A charity which helps families with a seriously ill child in hospital has launched its Christmas appeal after being thanked by a mother whose son has undergone two heart transplants.
Nine-year-old Kori Parkin-Stovell, from Ripley in Derbyshire, spent last Christmas in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, unable to eat or drink and so weak that he could not open his presents.
His mother Kerrylee Stovell said support and accommodation provided by The Sick Children’s Trust had helped the family as Kori fought for his life as his second heart went into failure.
Kerrylee, aged 41, said: “Kori became very sick suddenly and was rushed to hospital where he literally fought for his life for a month.
“We were told he would die but he defied all the odds.
“We were told that there was a room becoming available in Scott House run by The Sick Children’s Trust and we knew we would be in hospital for Christmas when we were told that Kori needed a second heart transplant.
“Having a big family room in Scott House meant that both my daughters could come to stay. Without the ‘Home from Home’ and the emotional support offered I think I would’ve had a full nervous breakdown finding out my son had to have yet another heart transplant.”
Kori’s mother added: “On Christmas day, Kori was in intensive care and he was very, very poorly, but the day was made special by everyone from Scott House, the doctors and nurses who didn’t mind working, and parents who had lost their own children.
“There were decorations, advent calendars and lights everywhere, along with hampers, not just for the kids, but for parents too, which made us really emotional and we felt so immensely humbled.”
Kori, who was born with a rare heart condition, spent six months in hospital before being allowed home. He is still recovering, but is looking forward to Christmas.
His mother said: “Kori wants to be a chef so he’s asked for a chef’s hat so he can help with Christmas dinner this year.
“He will also have his own tree, in his own bedroom, which he is very excited about. Whatever we do, as long as we are all together, that’s all that matters.”
Kori, who had his first transplant after being placed on an urgent list in 2018, was stabilised at the Freeman Hospital after being fitted with a pacemaker and receiving treatment using mechanical heart pumps.
Jane Featherstone, chief executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said: “We are so pleased that we could be there for Kerrylee and her family, and that Kori is doing well and is looking forward to Christmas at home.
“After a year of being separated from our loved ones, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends, Christmastime is when we want to be together.
“By giving a family a warm and comfortable place to stay just a stone’s throw away from the hospital ward means that a child will go to sleep knowing when they wake up, their parents are in a room not far away. They are not alone.”
Donations to the trust can be made at sickchildrenstrust.org/christmas