Walsall mum Sara Meredith is keeping her daughter’s memory alive as well as helping other parents whose children are being treated on the Children’s Ward at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Sara’s daughter Olivia, known as Livvy, had the neurological condition Rett Syndrome and died at the age of nine in 2008. She suffered many seizures as a result of this genetic condition – sometimes up to 100 a day – and was frequently in hospital.
Losing Livvy, who had been such a mischievous, fun-loving character, obviously had a massive impact on the family but they had talked about fostering children and following her death explored the idea of looking after children with complex needs.
Sara and her husband Alan are now proud parents to Daniel, aged five, who is blind and has complex needs in addition to diabetes insipidus and panhypopituitarism which means he has no hormones.
They have fostered other children too and adopted Daniel in 2017.
“We’ve had to come into hospital with Daniel a fair few times and this has made me aware that the ward really needs sensory toys and objects for its young patients who have disabilities,” explained Sara.
She has put together sensory boxes with the message “Donated with love in memory of Livvy Meredith for the use of children with disabilities” and visited the hospital earlier this month to hand them over to Assistant Play Specialist Jo Plank and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley.
“Sara added: “There’s all sorts of tactile objects in there and I hope other parents and carers of children with disabilities will find them a help. I’ve been in the situation myself where I’ve had to dash into hospital and with the worry and panic you don’t have time to stop and think about bringing toys in. These sensory items should help calm children down and distract them and we like to think that Livvy would have loved the idea.”
Jo said: “This is such a thoughtful gesture from one set of parents to others who use our services and we are so grateful.
“Sara has put together some lovely items and has used her own family’s experiences to offer support to others while creating a lovely legacy for Livvy.”