Supporting a loved one with a life-limiting condition or through palliative care is hard on any family. It’s emotional and physically draining. But what about when the person with the life-limiting condition is a child? Your child. And in addition to supporting your one sick child, you must still love and care for your other children. And what about your job; what happens to that? How will this affect your financial situation? Sadly this is the reality for about 3,700 families across Queensland today.
And at the heart of one of those families, are foster parents, Paul and Gabrielle Quilliam, who about ten years ago fostered a little girl with a life-limiting condition. Among transplants and surgeries, they provided love and care, but the stress, emotional and financial, was great. They tried to reach out for support, perhaps some respite at a hospice, but no such place existed in Queensland.
That’s when Paul and Gabrielle made the decision to do something to change that. And that decision would be the conception of Hummingbird House – Queensland’s first children’s hospice and only the third in Australia.
Gabrielle recently shared their story at a TEDx talk which you can view here:
Hummingbird House has been created to provide world-class respite and end of life care for children with a life-limiting condition and their families, and to help families discover moments and create memories to last a lifetime.
Despite its small size and fragility a hummingbird can be radiant and bright. Many cultures believe the hummingbird is a symbol of love, the lightness of being and the presence of joy. In many ways the hummingbird is representative of the children who will seek respite at this new facility with their families.
Hummingbird House will offer tailored stays for children with life-limiting conditions, their parents and their siblings. It will be a holistic approach for the whole family.
Later this month, on Saturday 21st in fact, Hummingbird House will be having its housewarming gala as it gets ready to open its doors to the first families that will call it home. And this Thursday we say thanks to Paul and Gabrielle for their vision and leadership in making this possible.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick