When Vanessa and Billy discovered that their daughter, Poppy Mae, had Cystic Fibrosis, they knew life would never be the same again.

 “After having such a normal pregnancy, it was such a shock to discover that Poppy Mae had Cystic Fibrosis. Although we know the disorder is manageable, we just wanted Poppy Mae to have a ‘normal’ and straightforward life – just like our other children.

After she was diagnosed, we just wanted to shower her with love and give her the best chance in life as possible.

She was put on medication and we were beginning to learn all about the disorder and get to grips with what Poppy Mae’s life would be like. It was a difficult, but exciting time. We couldn’t wait to get to know her.”

However, just 10 weeks later, on Vanessa and her husband’s wedding anniversary, Poppy Mae was found unconscious and rushed to hospital. Of course, Vanessa knew there would be moments like this in little Poppy Mae’s life, but she didn’t expect something so distressing so early on.

After a harrowing transfer to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital from Blackpool Victoria Hospital, doctors gave Vanessa and her husband, Billy, the devastating news there was nothing more they could do – Poppy Mae had passed away.

Vanessa and her family had to come with terms with the fact that it was time to say goodbye to their precious daughter, even though they knew it was far too early. They wanted as much time as possible with her – which is where Brian House came in.

It was while the family were at Blackpool Victoria Hospital that they learned of the Butterfly Suite at Brian House Children’s Hospice – a place where Poppy Mae could stay whilst they took as much time as they needed to say goodbye and make funeral arrangements.

“The Butterfly Suite allowed us to spend that precious time with Poppy Mae, instead of worrying over the alternative options that wouldn’t have provided us with that opportunity.

One of the staff members, Sue, helped me to explain what had happened to Poppy Mae to my other children, which was a big relief. Trying to get across to young children, who already adored their sister, that they wouldn’t be able to have cuddles or kisses with her anymore, was incredibly difficult.

We also decided to have a Memory Leaf dedicated to Poppy Mae, so that her time at Brian House will always be remembered – it’s a comfort to know her name is there with the other children.

The hospice provides amazing care for whoever walks through the door and the staff are just incredible. We can’t thank them enough for how we were treated.”

Vanessa and her family have taken part in various Trinity Hospice and Brian House fundraising events since Poppy Mae’s passing, ensuring that they keep her memory alive.

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