Earl Mountbatten Hospice has won a national award for its work developing children’s services.
The award was presented to the EMH team at the annual Hospice UK conference in Liverpool this week. Some months ago the Hospice entered the Annual Hospice Innovation Award, based around its unique children’s partnership with Island charity, KissyPuppy, and the Island’s local children’s Paediatric Team.
Hospice CEO Nigel Hartley said it was a tremendous accolade for EMH and congratulated all those who had been involved with the development of the children’s services over the past three years.
“Many staff and volunteers past and present have contributed towards this award, as well as Sophie Rolf and her parents, Aaron and Gemma, who both inspired and motivated us all to join together to create a bespoke service for dying children and their families across the Isle of Wight. This award is in recognition of an incredible achievement,” he said.
The awards, now in their fifth year, recognise the enormous contribution that both individuals and innovative programmes have made to hospice care in local communities across the UK.
Antonia Bunnin, Director of Hospice Support and Development at Hospice UK, said:
“We have had so many inspiring and heart-warming entries for this year’s awards, including some fantastic examples of trail-blazing schemes. There are some extraordinary individuals in our member hospices who, in their day-to-day activities, go above and beyond to transform care for terminally ill and dying people and their families.”
The Sophie Rolf Trust – Registered Charity 1156155
Sophie Rolf was a beautiful, happy, larger than life little girl. She enjoyed doing all things little girls love, especially her swimming and dance classes.
Sophie started school in September2011, joining her big brother Jack at St Saviours Primary School in Totland on the Isle of Wight.
During May 2012 we noticed a tremor in Sophie’s left arm and, after numerous hospital visits and finally an MRI scan in June, we received the terrible news that no parent wants to hear – Sophie had a ‘Supratentorial high grade Glioma, bilateral thalamic tumour’.
This is an aggressive brain tumour located in a very awkward part of the brain. We were told that the tumour was inoperable and the prognosis poor. Sophie faced things that no child or adult should have to go through. Neuro surgery to fit shunts, central line surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, a trial drug, numerous MRI & CT scans, homeopathic drugs and other tests were all met with determination, strength, courage and most of all always a smile.
She made us so proud to call her our daughter. As a family we never gave up hope and actively pursued other medical opinions from Europe and the rest of the world – however each reply reinforced the original diagnosis.
Sadly Sophie lost her fight in November 2013 at home alongside her family that adored her so much. She didn’t suffer and as always, she decided when the time was right.
‘KissyPuppy’ was originally set up to enable friends and family to fund raise for Sophie and initially was used to support Sophie’s journey through this including travelling to and from appointments on the mainland, any equipment needed and creating magical experiences and memories.
We chose the name ‘KissyPuppy’ as this was a word Sophie used for a very special sort of cuddle and kiss reserved only for her big brother Jack.
What this devastating process highlighted to us as a family was the limited healthcare options available for children with life shortening conditions on the Isle of Wight.
There is no specialist children’s hospice on the Isle of Wight. Families are offered the option of travelling to Winchester for respite or end of life care, which is a three hour journey each way, relying on Ferries. Travelling to the mainland at the point when Sophie was very poorly is something we did not want to be thinking about.
The Earl Mountbatten Hospice provides comprehensive end-of-life healthcare for the Isle of Wight community. They support and care for adults living with and dying from a life-shortening illness and, working in partnership with the local NHS, they are extending these services to children.
Sophie said early on in her treatment that she wanted to help other children as they have helped her………so that is what we have pledged to do. We have joined forces with the Earl Mountbatten Hospice and the local NHS to help support and develop services on the Island for children and young people, and their families, with life shortening conditions.
Over a period of time a range of services will be developed offering flexible, individualised care and support, in the place of choice, built around the unique needs of each family.
Services will be coordinated centrally, and delivered by a multi-professional team, working together with each family to support their wishes and care choices. Sophie’s first project was to provide an area within the existing hospice building that will be suitable for use by children and their families.
The area was to provide the equipment needed to fulfil the medical requirements of the individual whilst at the same time recognise the needs of the family as a whole.
From day one Sophie was an inspiration to all. She never once complained or grumbled about what she was going through. She greeted each and every day with a smile and her attitude and spirit made her fundraising such a success that within a few months she had raised the £10,000 target set for the first project.
At the beginning of November 2013 Sophie, just a few weeks before she passed away, opened the children’s rooms at Earl Mountbatten Hospice, a massive achievement of which we are so proud of her for. Sophie had already started on her next project, a Playground, within the grounds of the Hospice.
In her short life, Sophie has changed Children’s services here on the Island. We, as Sophie’s family, recognise there is so much more to be done. Kissypuppy – ‘The Sophie Rolf Trust’ is now a registered charity.
We are committed to helping the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, local NHS and other interested parties in the continued development of services for children and their families with life shortening illnesses on the Isle of Wight.
We hope we can continue Sophie’s good work and make a legacy she would be proud of.