Meet 11-year-old Gracie Berman. Christmas will be different for everyone this year, but with the support of the ward, Gracie will hopefully still be able to go home to Leeds for a few hours on Christmas Day to spend time with her mum Bonnie, dad Roland, brother Elijah and twin sister Coco.
Gracie has been in hospital since December 2019, and came to Sheffield Children’s in April. She is receiving treatment following a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease alongside other complications such as sepsis, which means she gets poorly very quickly and sometimes needs urgent care in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Mum Bonnie said: “Sheffield Children’s has been brilliant, there hasn’t been a single time in nine months I’ve been unhappy with the care. Gracie has never had to wait for anything and you would never know the staff are busy, they always have time for us.
“It’s been a really difficult time as we don’t know what is causing Gracie to be so unwell on top of her Crohn’s disease, so we are doing lots of investigations. She has had eight bouts of sepsis, so has been going in between Ward 3 and the Intensive Care Unit. We are continuing to deal with the unknown, but the staff are brilliant with Gracie and even though it’s hard they make her laugh.
“Gracie has her five favourite fabulous nurses who really click with her and she is looked after by so many staff that are great too. One even came by on her day off to blow balloons up for Gracie’s 11th birthday, made a balloon arch and the ward gave her presents too – they’ve been amazing.”
Gracie’s also visited by the play specialists, and Caroline, one of the dedicated hospital school teachers.
Bonnie said: “Gracie has excelled in maths and really gained confidence. She has impressed us all and even though she hasn’t been in school since June 2019, she isn’t behind on school work at all! Even when she wasn’t well she said yes and wanted a lesson because she enjoys the teacher so much. Gracie says it like it is, so we know if Caroline wasn’t amazing, she wouldn’t say so!”
Before she became really poorly Gracie played in a football team and was in a gymnastics and swimming squad. In hospital, even though she currently can’t eat food and is fed through intravenously, she loves baking. She’s also made tiny bead bracelets and key chains for all her doctors and nurses. As well as enjoying watching Friends, anything to do with Harry Potter and - best of all - she loves visits from her best friends, her older brother Elijah and twin sister Coco.
Bonnie added: “For Christmas, we’ve decorated her bedroom on the ward and have enjoyed the dressing up efforts of everyone! They do their best to make it special, even if they can’t put many decorations up this year.
“If we’re able to be all together at home at Christmas it will be really special, but Gracie said she doesn’t mind if she doesn’t get to go home, as she feels safe and looked after her and her favourite nurses are working, which really is down to the great care she’s having.”
Thank you to all the staff who go the extra mile for looking after patients like Gracie.
Courtesy of @SheffChildrens and Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Trust