Martin House Children’s Hospice
A Bradford Mother, whose two sons suffer from a rare life-limiting condition, has heaped praise on the work done by Martin House Children’s Hospice and labeled the establishment as a ‘lifeline’.
Hamida Rafiq has been visiting the hospice for almost eight years. Both of her sons, Ummar Saddique and Adam Saddique, suffer from Aicardi Goutieres Syndrome (AGS), a life limiting disease which only affects approximately 400 people worldwide.
Through the care offered by Martin House’s staff, Hamida has been able to receive vital support in raising her children and ensuring the best possible life for all the family.
Hamida described Martin House as a ‘crucial’ part of her life and struggled to put into words her gratitude for the ‘unbelievable staff’.
“Everybody here is part of our family now. It is such a peaceful, calming place – people think hospices mean ‘the end of life’ and I thought that at first but no, they support you every way you need and are always there for you,” she explained.
“They are a backup call, sometimes you feel like you are battling against everybody but this place supports you through changes. It is a place for parents to come as well. We lose a lot of our social life as well, having our kids, people seem to fade so it’s nice to come and see other families who are in a similar boat to you.
“As a parent of a child with an ill child, you are constantly bombarded with a lot of information but not here.”
“It’s the little things too which matter to us parents. Whenever I come through the door they recognise us straight away. It means a lot; they know exactly who you are and everything. We are spoilt to be honest by these wonderful people.”
Providing support for families since 1976, Martin House Children’s Hospice has acted as an important place for thousands of people throughout the past four decades.
Established in Boston Spa, the hospice caters for families with children who have life-limiting conditions and aims to be a place where Yorkshire’s children and parents can visit during their most difficult times.
Mother-of-three, Najmah Iqbal, reiterated Hamida’s viewpoint. She has only been visiting Martin House for just over one year, yet could not imagine life now without the support.
“It is beautiful here and we are very blessed to be able to come and just take somewhat of a break,” she said. “There is everything here we need and the care team know exactly how to look after Zayna (Fatima Iqbal).
“You always feel like you are in a safe pair of hands and that is so reassuring.” The hospice is inclusive to every member of the family and Zayna’s brother and sister often visit the site.
The eight-year-old youngster is currently in need of a kidney transplant and is on the NHS organ donor list yet; a severe shortage of Asian organ donors, threatens to leave Zayna requiring a transplant for a prolonged period of time.
Najmah appealed for more Asian donors to come forward to help ‘save the life of [her] daughter’.
She said: “As a mum I feel like it is my duty to throw out the appeal to request that somebody can give the ‘gift of life’ to my daughter.
“She is blood type O and even though she is on the transplant list, it could be years before a match is found. If there is anybody out there who can help save my daughter’s life please, as a mother, I ask for you to come forward and do something amazing.”
Currently, 340 families are cared for by the Martin House team, with 64 full-time staff, and more part-time, working around the clock to provide 24 hour care. Home visits are also provided for families who can’t, or don’t want to, travel to the Boston Spa establishment, with the same ‘inhouse’ flexible services on offer to all.
People from every background are welcome, regardless of race or faith, with every team member dedicated to building your support around your needs.
33 per cent of the people who use the services are from Asian backgrounds. For Muslims, staff make it their priority to ensure the hospice caters for things such as halal meat, a sign pointing to Mecca in the onsite multi-faith chapel, and even an Asian mum’s group.