When we arrived at Tŷ Hafan for the first time when Poppy was seven, we were exhausted and didn’t know what to expect.
You can spend a lot of time explaining your experiences to people and, unless people have actually experienced that, there’s always a gap of understanding.
At Tŷ Hafan, that understanding was immediate and we could just relax as a family and just be ourselves.
Our first short break at the hospice was the first time we were able to stay somewhere as a family. It didn’t feel like anything other than having a family holiday. My wife Rachel and I didn’t have to get up in the night to look after Poppy, we had lovely home-cooked food and we could spend time with our three boys and our other daughter.
We were told Poppy wouldn’t live to see her first birthday, then her fourth. She’s now 12 and has done so many amazing things – including taking part in Tŷ Hafan’s Rainbow Run in a bathtub on wheels!
Tŷ Hafan has enabled my wife Rachel and I to embrace the situation with Poppy and we are making the most of it, turning it into something more positive and, hopefully, making a difference.
Two things that have surprised me since I joined the team are how engaged the whole organisation is with the cause and how hard it is to deliver great care.
When we’re making decisions I always think ‘what will be the impact on families?’ That’s not just financial, it’s in the way we do things and the values and principles we work to.
My goal is for the care that we provide to become a right for every child and every family that needs it. The best place to receive care is actually in the family home. It’s going to be quite a journey for us to achieve that, but it’s what’s best for families. In the meantime, we’ve got our fantastic hospice and our community team is growing.
This is my single biggest achievement in my life; I will never top this. I have a level of determination that I wouldn’t have if my job wasn’t so important to me. It’s a vocation.