Amelia's Story

Amelia is eight-years-old and has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Her condition causes spasticity, which makes her body stiff and stops her from being able to control her movement.

Amelia and her mum, Shabnam, were referred to Martin House after Amelia contracted sepsis in 2016, where she spent four months in hospital. The sepsis caused intestinal failure, which makes Amelia very sick. Shabnam now sleeps on the sofa downstairs next to Amelia, to be with her throughout the night, as she’ll often wake with tummy aches and sickness.

She said: “When Amelia went into hospital, it was really stressful. I’m a single parent and it’s just us at home. So when we started coming to Martin House, it was an absolute relief.”

When Amelia was born, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck five times, which starved her of oxygen. As a baby, her symptoms were not as apparent, however as Amelia got older, Shabnam noticed her missing milestones.

“She’s so bright and is always happy, but she’s locked in her body. Her brain and muscles don’t work together. Whenever she tries to do something, her body stiffens. At Martin House, the care team incorporate her physiotherapy into a fun activity, whether that’s arts and crafts, music or when the animals come to visit from Mary’s farm, so physio isn’t so daunting for her.

“When she’s here, she learns to interact with different people. We have both had separation issues, with me leaving her, and her being away from me. But here, the care team are so loving and playful that she doesn’t mind being away from me. She loves spending time in the library and can be there for hours reading books. I know that she will be stimulated when we come to visit.

“Martin House has been so valuable to both of us. It’s the only respite I get. If we didn’t have Martin House, I wouldn’t be able to cope. I get a full night’s sleep which I don’t get at home, because Amelia is awake often through the night, which means my sleep is broken and each day it’s hard to function. At Martin House, I feel so awake and revived.”