Ava’s story

Est. read time: 1-2 minutes.

Mum Debbie Streatfield has spoken of the “incredible support” she and her family receive from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

Daughter Ava has Cerebral Palsy. She is non-verbal and needs oxygen.

She was referred to EACH shortly after being born and was expected to go down the palliative care route. However, she has defied expectations and is now 12.

Debbie says her family always make every effort to attend EACH events and her daughters particularly enjoy sibling days at The Treehouse.

She said: “They’ve made friends and, from our point of view, as parents, it’s lovely spending time with others in the same boat. We can ask questions and relate to each other, without the judgement and staring you sometimes get in a more public place.

“It’s been tough and we’ve had lots of intensive care experiences, but we’ve had so much incredible support from EACH. The care team have been with us every step of the way but especially during the early part of our journey.”

The Streatfield family were among those to attend last month’s EACH beach day at Felixstowe. It was for children, siblings and parents receiving care and support at The Treehouse.

EACH hired The Hut, which has its own kitchen, toilet and facilities and is especially for charity and community groups. Debbie was joined by husband Darryl, Freya, 17, Ruby, nine, and Millie, two.

“We’ve been going to the beach day every year for about ten years,” she said. “Rain or shine, we’re there and it’s something we always look forward to as a family.

“The facilities at the hut are fantastic and even on a wet and windy day, there’s plenty of space inside. It’s also great having the use of a hoist and beach wheelchair, so the children can get down on the beach.

“They can dip their feet in the water and feel the sand between their toes, so have a wonderful sensory experience that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.”

Published in September 2022

Families’ stories and experiences are unique to them and we have been kindly granted permission to share this family’s story. If you have been affected by what you’ve read or have a question and would like to talk to someone, please contact your local children’s hospice service or Together for Short Lives, the UK charity that supports families caring for seriously ill children (tel: 0808 8088 100). 


Would you like us to write and share your own family story?

We give all those receiving support from EACH the opportunity to share their family story. All family members are welcome to get involved if they’d like to and we will never share your story until you are completely happy with it. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more, please contact Matt Plummer, EACH Media and PR Manager at matt.plummer@each.org.uk.

The care team have been with us every step of the way

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