Ethan’s first Christmas at GOSH

19 Nov 2021, 5:35 p.m.

Patient Ethan his family in front of the Christmas tree

Ethan came to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) at just five months old. He spent his first-ever Christmas attached to a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), or Berlin Heart, which kept him alive. 

Ethan’s mum Roselelia talks about his time at the hospital and how your support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) makes a difference to the children and their families in hospital over Christmas.

Arriving at GOSH

Ethan was diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy, which affects the left side of the heart, causing heart failure. When Ethan and his family first came to GOSH, they were supported by nurses, consultants and the heart failure teams on Bear Ward.

“The nurses, consultants and the team were dealing with two very distraught parents, but the support we received was second to none. That is what you want when you are there with your poorly child. Knowing you can put your trust in someone to save your child, you’d do anything,” Roselelia says.

Christmas time on Bear Ward

Ethan spent his first Christmas at GOSH surrounded by his family including his mum, his dad Richard, and his two sisters Alanah and Maia. Although the family couldn’t be at home for Christmas, they brought Christmas to Bear Ward, including buffet-style food, disco lights and music and plenty of dancing. “It was about being together that mattered most. Just months before we didn’t even know if Ethan would be with us, so to be with him at Christmas made us feel so grateful,” Roselelia adds.

Patient Ethan and his family on Bear Ward

“It was about being together that mattered most. Just months before we didn’t even know if Ethan would be with us, so to be with him at Christmas made us feel so grateful.”

Roselelia, Henry's mum

Staying in family accommodation

Ethan’s parents drove up on Christmas Eve to stay in the family accommodation next to the hospital. Funded by the charity, the accommodation enables parents, carers and siblings to stay together. This meant all of Ethan’s family – including his sisters – could be with him on Christmas Day and throughout the festive period. For families who don’t live near GOSH, this is a vital service.

“I don’t think people could understand how much of a help that was for us to be a 10-minute walk away from our son. We’ve had many late-night calls to get to the hospital quickly and the stress of only having to get there in 10 minutes alleviated our fears. If we didn’t have this option, we would probably be in a lot of debt trying to stay in hotels to be close to Ethan.”

Back at home

After receiving his transplant in summer 2020, Ethan was discharged from hospital in time for Christmas and continues to stay healthy. He started nursery this autumn which is something the family thought they wouldn’t be discussing.

“We are so blessed to have Ethan with us, we now feel complete and have normality. What GOSH did for us was amazing. And a family agreeing to the organ donation is what I am so thankful for.”

Every child should have the chance to be at home with their families at Christmas. By donating to our Christmas appeal, your support can help fund vital resources to help get seriously ill children, like Henry, one step closer to home.

Watch Henry in our Christmas Appeal 2021 film and donate today.

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