But their dreams of the perfect Christmas at home with Rhys and her two beautiful daughters was never realised. That year they spent Christmas in hospital, not knowing what the coming days, weeks or months would bring.
Rhys was born with a heart condition where the left side of his heart is completely underdeveloped. He spent the first nine months of his life in hospital undergoing countless operations. Terri said “My poor Rhys, he was so small, so fragile - it was terrifying to see him go through so much.
Those nine months spent on the ward inevitably took its toll on my two girls Faith and Teigen too. Teigen was only four at the time and was so anxious. It was heart-breaking to see the impact of this traumatic experience on my daughters.”
When they were discharged from the hospital a nurse put Terri in contact with Tŷ Hafan, and she has never looked back.
Terri said “On our first visit to Tŷ Hafan, I was so nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. But as soon as we got there, I felt at ease as I realised that finally someone was there for us all.”
Recognising the strain Rhys’ medical journey placed on Terri’s daughters, Tŷ Hafan took care of their needs and got them involved with the Super Sibling group which has been invaluable. It helped Teigen mix with other children whilst having the safety of knowing her mum was still there. Teigen’s confidence blossomed. Now Teigen and Faith continue to attend all sorts of fun activities with their new Tŷ Hafan friends.
And, of course, there is Rhys who is not so little now! Terri said “From the outside, you wouldn’t think there is anything wrong. He is like a little bottle of pop. He is so cheeky and excitable! The reality is we have to be so careful; Rhys can’t even walk down the end of the street without getting tired. Some nights he wakes crying in pain from cramps due to his poor circulation.”
Rhys has grown up knowing Tŷ Hafan as his second family and loves his ‘holidays’ with us there. His face lights up when he is in the playground or the hydrotherapy pool, a fun yet safe space for him.
Terri said “When we go to Tŷ Hafan nothing else matters. The rest I get goes beyond a good night’s sleep. I can stop worrying. The girls and I get to spend quality time together. We love going to bed early and having a sleepover, we get treats, have a face mask and watch a DVD. It’s such precious time, which I can’t normally give to them.”
Please give a gift to Tŷ Hafan this Christmas so that we can ensure that children with life-limiting conditions and their families continue to receive the care and support they deserve.
Merry Christmas and thank you.