Samantha Desborough, or Sammy as she was known by her family and friends, died in April 2014 aged just 15 years-old. Sammy had profound and multiple learning difficulties, and when she was six months old she was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome which is a severe form of Epilepsy. This condition meant that Sammy suffered from regular seizures and required 24 hour care. Her whole family used EACH at Milton from when she was five years-old through until the end of her life.
Sammy's mum, Alison Frear, who is aged 40 and lives in Hemingford Grey, explained: "Sammy needed constant supervision throughout her life and lots of support for all her care needs. Her condition had deteriorated significantly over the last few years, particularly when she lost the ability to walk, which is something she loved to do as it gave her so much independence.
“We all started using the hospice at Milton when Sammy was five years-old. The care we received there was invaluable to us as a whole family. The short break care was so important – knowing that Sammy was being looked after by highly trained staff was the only break we ever had as I couldn’t trust anyone other than family to care for her. At Milton we knew she was looked after in such a lovely environment with great facilities. She loved the sensory room with so many lights and sounds and the hydro pool where the water gave her so much independence.”
When the time came, Sammy’s family decided to use Milton for end of life care and bereavement support.
Alison continued: “I never fully understood how much the hospice did for end of life care until we needed it. The care Sammy received and support for all my family and friends was absolutely amazing. The staff were so compassionate and calm which made us all feel relaxed and calm at such a difficult time.
“The support for my youngest daughter Tyra, who was just two at the time, was outstanding. She doesn’t see the hospice as a sad place because she loved being there. Thanks to Milton, our whole family can reflect on happy memories from the hospice knowing that my darling daughter was loved and cared for in such a lovely calm environment.
“Without the support from EACH I don’t know how we would have got through this. The support hasn’t stopped since Sammy passed away. I still have regular contact with staff and know they’re there for me or my family if we need them.
“Sammy was such a popular little girl, she was known by so many people in St. Ives and she touched the heart of everyone she met. She is loved and missed by so many people.”