Ieuan died at the hospice on January 23, five days after his fifth birthday. Although it was a distressing time for the family, they felt comforted knowing they were able to say goodbye to their son in the beautiful surroundings of the hospice with ‘Team Ieuan’ by their side.
When Ieuan was a baby he suffered a brain injury which caused epilepsy, cerebral palsy, dysautonomia and blindness to his left eye. Ieuan had very complex medical needs and at eight months old Cath and Tracey, who are both registered nurses, became his foster parents.
From that moment forward, they showered him with love and affection and provided him with a life filled with laughter, happy memories and plenty of “cwtches”.
They were referred to Tŷ Hafan almost immediately and describe the charity’s care as “phenomenal”.
Tracey said: “The support has been immeasurable. Words cannot express the depth of what we’ve received. ‘Team Ieu’ were phenomenal – every single one of them. The happiness we experienced and the support we were given was incredible.”
Days before Ieuan died, he was given a beautiful giraffe lamp as a gift. The lamp would project shapes and different colours in his room. Although he couldn’t talk and had very little movement, Ieuan responded by smiling and vocalising at his giraffe lamp.
The couple stayed at the hospice for a few more weeks until they felt strong enough to return to their home in Neath.
“We held a celebration of Ieu’s life while we were at the hospice. About 80 people turned up and we had tea and cake – it was wonderful. The bereavement support we’ve received has been absolutely fantastic; they have been there for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Tracey.
Cath and Tracey raised £1,000 for Tŷ Hafan through donations at Ieuan’s celebration of life and funeral. The used some of the money to purchase lamps for each of the children's bedrooms and the self-contained flat at the hospice.
“We hope the children and young people will enjoy the lights as much as Ieuan. We can’t thank Tŷ Hafan enough and this is a small way we can make a difference to a truly wonderful charity,” said Cath.