Phoebe first lost her freedom to play like other children when she spent months in hospital being treated for a rare life limiting genetic disorder aged 5 years old.
Phoebe had been struggling with a chest infection and, over a number of weeks, she became visibly weaker. She was subsequently diagnosed with a rare DNA disorder that meant Phoebe’s bone marrow was likely to fail and she is at a hugely increased risk of many cancers. It was a huge shock to her mum and dad, Lauren and Tom.
After her diagnosis, life changed drastically. Phoebe went from settling into her first year of school and her normal happy play at home to long stays in hospital. She underwent chemotherapy treatment, a bone marrow transplant from her dad and battled the effects of a dangerous brain infection.
Whilst she was in hospital, Phoebe’s family were operating in a restricted bubble to keep her safe from infection and only her parents were allowed to visit. Play was a vital part of Phoebe’s routine, providing structure and normalcy amongst all of the changes.
Play specialists arriving with the type of toys that Phoebe loved – especially arts and crafts, often supplied by Starlight – and spending hours playing and making things with Phoebe made a huge difference. They also ensured that Lauren and dad Tom could have a break away from the bedside, knowing that Phoebe was enjoying herself and being stimulated.