Hear from other families

Read below to find stories from families and their children and young people accessing our services.

We are always looking for new stories to illustrate our services and the impact they have on families across East Anglia. If you'd like to share your story please get in touch with Michael Jarvis in our Marketing and Communications Team on michael.jarvis@each.org.uk.

Isabella’s Story

Six-year-old Isabella Benton lives in Dereham with her mum Michala, dad Roger and sisters Aimie, nine, Daisy, four, and Molly, two.
Isabella has a number of neurological conditions including complex refractory epilepsy and global developmental delay, as well as developing psychological and behavioural issues.

She has up to three tonic-clonic seizures – a type of generalised seizure that affects the entire brain – and takes four anti-convulsant medicines twice a day. Isabella has the seizures mostly in her sleep, so Michala and Roger have a camera in her bedroom. They rarely get a good night’s sleep, sometimes not sleeping at all, and have had to change their working patterns. The seizures have reduced in frequency over the last few years, but appear to have become more violent.

In March 2015, Isabella underwent invasive monitoring before being offered major surgery to try and stop her seizures. Deciding whether to accept the surgery was an agonising decision for Michala and Roger, with it carrying risks such as partial or permanent paralysis and loss of vision. In addition, the chance of the surgery being successful was more optimistic than favourable.

Later in the year they went ahead, but the surgery was unsuccessful in stopping Isabella’s seizures. Initially it seemed there was no benefit to have come from the surgery at all, with Isabella’s condition being no better than beforehand and her having picked up psychological and behavioural issues. This led to Michala being diagnosed and treated for depression, while Aimie received additional specialist play therapy from EACH.

Isabella has since made progress in a range of areas and her once evident left-sided weakness is now far less obvious. Additional medications also mean she is more abled than she has been for some time, however, she still requires constant supervision.

Michala said: “We’ve now been receiving care and support from EACH for the past four years. We receive respite care twice a month, when Isabella will stay at the Norfolk hospice for three nights at a time. We also have nurse home visits, parent support, counselling and specialist play for Isabella. Aimie has received specialist play and attends sibling days.

“I can’t imagine what life would be like without the care and support from EACH. It gives us the time to do things with our other girls - simple things like going to the park, baking cakes, going for a picnic or to the seaside - things which are a challenge for all of us to do with Isabella.

“Respite care is like a home from home and we don’t have to worry about Isabella as she loves her stays. As parents, we feel relaxed as we know she is safe and extremely well cared for. Last year we were able to relax on an overseas family holiday as Isabella was being cared for by EACH. If this hadn't happened, we wouldn’t have been able to go away and spend quality time with our other girls.

“The nook (which EACH are in the processing of moving into) will be much better as it will have a hydrotherapy pool, which Isabella can use to strengthen her body tone. Although now more able-bodied, she’ll be able to get around in her wheelchair as the building will be on one level and be spacious.

“Isabella, like many children with special needs, loves anything sensory as I believe this is how she learns. The new sensory room and equipment will give her the stimulation she needs. She loves being outside and the nook will have purpose-built grounds with beautiful scenery, again to help stimulate her needs for play in the fresh air in a safe environment.

“When Isabella was born she was a healthy, happy baby - all you hope for when you have a baby. We had no reason to believe she wouldn’t grow up to be a happy, normal adult. At seven months old, Isabella’s and our lives changed forever. This kind of thing could happen to anyone and you never know if you will need the unique service given by EACH.

“Without people donating money, EACH would not exist and where would children like Isabella or families like us get the help and support we need? We hope people generously support the nook appeal to help families just like ours.”

  • EACH helped us with coping mechanisms and special ways of remembering Stanley. Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • Renee loves going to The Treehouse, but it’s great that care staff are also able to visit us at home too. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • The play specialists are excellent and I also get inspiration from the activities they organise. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • I can’t imagine what it would have been like. Nobody should have to, every family should be offered the support we were, and are still getting Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • We arrived at the hospice feeling scared and alone. We had so many questions – they answered them all and more. Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • It’s been a great opportunity to meet other parents in a similar situation, something that doesn't really happen anywhere else. Helen, William’s mum
  • I didn’t realise hope was a gift until I became a mum. My little boy taught me many things and that was one of them Claire, Jacob’s mum
  • EACH has helped us keep Stanley’s memory alive. And allows us to look to the future Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • EACH supports families when they’re at their absolute lowest, helping them to come to terms with their child’s illness, losing them and beyond Brad, Stanley's Dad
  • EACH helps us to create lovely memories and has played an important part in all of our lives, not just Lucy’s. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • When we first heard about the hospice we were apprehensive because we didn’t know what to expect. When we got there we realised it was a lovely place where Renee would be well looked after, and we would be able to have a much-needed break. Stacy, Renee’s mum
  • I really love going to the hospice. I’ve made friends there and get to do loads of fun stuff. Renee
  • Children like Lucy don’t get the opportunity to go to sleepovers or to their friends for tea, so the interaction she has at the hospice is priceless. Heather, Lucy’s mum
  • We are also supported by the 24/7 True Colours nurses and it’s so reassuring knowing we can call on them whenever we need support or advice Helen, William’s mum

The Treehouse

St. Augustine’s Gardens,
Ipswich, IP3 8NS


Church Lane, Milton,
Cambridge, CB24 6AB

The Nook

Pigot Lane, Framingham Earl
Norfolk, NR14 7PX