12-year-old Olivia from Cardiff suffers from cerebral palsy, visual impairment and physical delay. She developed the condition after being starved of oxygen at birth and was referred to Tŷ Hafan when she was just six months old. There have been a number of occasions when Olivia’s condition has deteriorated to such an extent that her family didn’t think she would pull through. Thankfully, Olivia has always shown incredible resilience and is now doing incredibly well.
“By looking at her today, you wouldn’t believe what she has gone through,” said Leanne, her mum.
“We simply couldn’t have coped without Tŷ Hafan. Their support has been phenomenal.”
Olivia lights up the room with her infectious smile, loves gossip and is a huge One Direction fan.
“She is such an amazing girl. Whenever I feel down, I just look at her and she makes me smile,” said Leanne.
“She loves selfies and has the most wicked sense of humour.
She communicates with her facial expressions and lets us know what she likes and dislikes.”
Olivia can suffer seizures daily and requires round-the-clock care. She needs medication seven times a day, is fed through a tube and has regular physiotherapy.
Leanne said: “When Olivia stays at Tŷ Hafan, it gives us all a break. It’s incredible what that break does for Olivia. It’s like magic.
“She comes home a different girl and is so relaxed and happy. It’s like a five star resort where she gets pampered and spoilt.
“For me, it’s the little things that make a difference. During her last visit we went to the supermarket, cooked a roast dinner and watched TV all night – something that most families would probably take for granted.”
Tŷ Hafan also provides Olivia with unique experiences which help her development.
“She loves the hydrotherapy pool, the new playground and the sensory room. She can’t get these therapies anywhere but at Tŷ Hafan,” said Leanne.
“If I was to describe Tŷ Hafan in one word it would be 'support'. I was feeling really down the other day and as soon as I spoke to one of the staff at Tŷ Hafan, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It hasn’t been easy and there have been some really difficult times, but knowing that Tŷ Hafan are there for us gives me the strength to carry on.”
Leanne added: “I would encourage as many people as possible to support this amazing charity as they are a lifeline for families like ours.”
By taking part in our Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge, you are helping families like these make the most of the precious time they have left together as your valued sponsorship allows Tŷ Hafan to continue offering care and support across Wales.