Alyson and Neil Clark from Stonea in Cambridgeshire completed a Tractor Run from Lands End to John O'Groats in November 2016, in memory of their daughter Mikayla as she loved to spend time on the farm with her dad.
A few days after her 4th birthday Mikayla Clark was diagnosed with a Brain Stem Tumour called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Mikayla’s family were given the devastating news that there was no cure for her tumour and they began palliative treatment to try and relieve some of Mikayla’s symptoms. Mikayla’s condition did improve enough for the family to enjoy a treasured six months before she sadly died on 12th April 2016.
Throughout her illness and since her death Mikayla’s family have been supported by EACH through our Milton hospice.
Alyson Clark, explained: “Mikayla always had a smile, she was a cheeky little girl who knew how to wrap her parents around her little finger - especially her daddy! Mikayla had a love for life and loved being outdoors, especially being out on the farm with daddy as his co-pilot. Even as she began to get more poorly, she never let her illness stop her doing what she wanted – she was a very determined little girl!
“The care we received from EACH at Milton was excellent. We received support from the Symptom Management Team who were on hand 24 hours a day to give us advice on Mikayla’s condition and managing her medication. A nurse specialist would visit us at home to see how she was doing and as a family we would go to Milton for day care. We had hydrotherapy once a week, which Mikayla loved. Every member of staff played a part in the care we received as a family. All the staff we came in contact with throughout our time at Milton were friendly, welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. It’s more than a job to the staff, they are caring, compassionate and believe in the work they do.
“Myself and Neil made the decision that we wanted end of life care at Milton so we spent the last six days of her life there. Everyone at the hospice helped to make this time as easy and precious as possible. Julie the head chef said to us after breakfast one morning that she had made a chocolate cheesecake as she thought we could do with a chocolate fix. Little things like this make the difference. Alfie our son was always welcome, as were visitors and other family members, and visits were never restricted. The Wellbeing Team helped us make memory keepsakes which we will treasure for ever.”
“Having EACH gave us choices which we never thought possible. The staff made the hardest journey we have ever had to make that little bit easier to bear. We never felt alone, there was always somebody there who would listen to us. It was a place we could be at home without being at home. We still use support from the hospice, I have counselling sessions which are a real help.
“If EACH wasn’t there I don’t know what we would have done as we really felt we couldn’t be at home when Mikayla passed, it would have been too much. They are an essential lifeline for families. There are not enough words to say how thankful we are to EACH, we were amazed at the service they do provide. We will never forget what the staff at Milton did for us, the work they do is truly amazing."