After a difficult birth, Archie was born with severe brain damage, causing quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and blindness.

Archie is a funny, cheeky, brave boy with sheer determination and a contagious smile. This is his story, told by his mum, Vicky.

Little boy in grey jumper sitting holding glitter pot with hand on top of his
Boy in green and white top lying on mat with foil blanket

Vicky said:

In 2011 I was pregnant with my much longed-for baby boy. I had waited my whole life for him and was so excited to plan our life together. I’d chosen the name Archie after my amazing Grandad.

After a pretty straight forward pregnancy I went in for an induction on 11th October 2011, as my baby decided he wanted to stay put and I was 19 days overdue. 

A day that started with excitement quickly turned when I had a trace put on and it showed my baby was becoming distressed. The next part of the day is a blur. I went suddenly from expecting to be induced, to crowds of people asking questions, checking my details and then an emergency c-section.

I remember asking if my baby boy could be placed straight on my chest after birth, but this didn’t happen. More people rushed in and my view was blocked by the surgical screen. I was told to look to my right and my son, Archie was whisked past me and out of the room. It wasn’t until 6 hours later that I was told he had been born flat and needed to be resuscitated.

Everyone was fighting to save him.

Baby Archie in hospital

I was put in a wheelchair and went to say hello, and possibly goodbye.

— Vicky, Archie's mum, Archie's mum

Archie suffered widespread, severe brain damage at birth, but he survived. As a result, he has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and is registered blind. He is also non-verbal but uses basic signs to answer choice questions. 

He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Sadly, the day that brought me my amazing boy was so far from what I’d dreamt. If I’d gone to hospital even half an hour earlier, my life would be completely different now. I know how lucky I am, but the day was scary and confusing, and that’s hard to block out. His birthdays have always been tricky for me – I spent his first five birthdays looking back.

Archie with his birthday cake

For a few years, I booked the week of his birthday at Naomi House. The weeks were filled with fun activities, swimming, sensory room sessions, music sessions and playing in the garden. We got to have non-stop fun together while the amazing care staff and nurses took care of all of Archie’s medical needs.

Archie on sensory mat
Archie and his mum in the sensory room

Thanks to Naomi House, I was too busy to look back at Archie’s original birthday. We got to enjoy his special day and celebrate, just as we should.

Archie is now an amazing, brave, strong, clever 12 year old. He’s the funniest person I know. He’s extremely clever and clearly understands more than he can express. He’s very cheeky and laughs at his own cheekiness. He’s very determined and tries so hard at everything he wants to achieve.

Life is hard for him. He has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, uncontrolled epilepsy and is registered blind. But life is also so much fun for him. He has so many friends and their parents have become my friends and support system. 

Little boy sitting in wheelchair with his mum bent down beside him next to Stormtroopers in front of a Christmas tree

One great thing we love to do is take over Naomi House! Every year we book a week’s respite stay at Naomi House at the same time as some of his best friends. The boys are absolutely spoilt and looked after by the nurses and carers. They are entertained by the play team and volunteers and have delicious meals cooked for them by the super talented catering team.

Us parents get to relax and enjoy activities with our children without having to be their carers too. We get to just be parents for those few precious days.

Three ladies holding their sons in the swimming pool with colourful reflections on the water
Three mums chatting in the hydrotherapy pool holding their sons

In the evenings, we all sleep in the parent accommodation, safe in the knowledge that our children are being safely looked after. We chat, we moan, we laugh and most importantly we sleep! Beautiful uninterrupted sleep!

Archie's favourite activity at Naomi House has to be swimming. He’s my little merman and would live in the pool if he could!

Archie relaxing in a rubber ring

At the end of our stays the housekeeping team have even washed all of Archie’s clothes and packed his case so that when we get home, I don’t have to have extra work to do!

Archie giggling with his mum

Naomi House is an absolute haven for Archie and me, I really don’t know what I’d do without it.

— Vicky Cleaver, Archie's mum, Archie's mum

It’s been there for fun holidays with friends, but it’s also been there when Archie has had horrible surgeries and I need help finding my feet while he recovers.

Lady in white polo top tickling boy on mum
Boy sat on mum

We have used Naomi House for the good days. We have used them during the difficult days. And it is comforting to know that if we need them, they will be there for the last days.

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