Our sanctuary, our refuge - Vickey's lockdown blog

Ollie and mum painting

Naomi House is our sanctuary, our refuge. When we feel like we’re sinking, Naomi House keeps us afloat.

— Vickey Kowal, Naomi House mum, Naomi House mum

Naomi House & Jacksplace have been busy during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We took in adult patients from local hospitals to support the NHS through the Coronavirus peak. We provided remote play, sibling support, counselling and social work services to hundreds of local families. And, of course, we provided end of life and post bereavement care to families at the most difficult of moments. All the while our fundraising effectively stopped. 

Now, we have launched an appeal to ensure we build resilience for the future and make good on our core promise to families: To be there when they need us for as long as they need us, on the good days, difficult days and last days. But we need your help. 

Hear directly from one of our families on their struggles during lockdown, and how your support makes a huge difference...

My son Ollie, who is eight now, has been coming to Naomi House for respite care since he was very young. He needs constant attention and care (and I really mean constant, we can’t leave him on his own for even a few seconds). Ollie has a condition which means that any of his muscles can suddenly stop working at any time. So that could be his arms, his eyes; or his lungs or his heart.

We live with the knowledge that he could die at any moment. But he is such a happy, positive little boy. He lights up a room and has the biggest, most infectious smile in the world.

— Vickey, Ollie's mum
Ollie 5
Ollie 1

The times we’ve had at Naomi House have been some of the most precious for us. Ollie and his little sister Lisi play together when he’s there – and we go swimming together as a family in their hydrotherapy pool, the only pool Ollie has ever used. We’ve had moments of fun, joy, laughing, getting messy that we’ll always remember and cherish.

Naomi House is our sanctuary, our refuge. When we feel like we’re sinking so much of the time, Naomi House keeps us afloat. That’s why, honestly, the last few months have been sheer hell without them.

— Vickey

Ollie needs constant care and attention. He doesn’t sleep that much and so my husband Adrian and I have to take turns to be with him all the time. We have to feed him and give him all the medicines he needs every day to keep him alive.

Naomi House was the only place we could go, where we knew there was someone we could trust to take over Ollie’s care – even for just a few days. It was time we could relax, focus on Lisi, and finally get a full night’s sleep.

We’ve missed going there so, so much. For the first nine weeks of lockdown, none of us left the house because Ollie wouldn’t have survived getting the virus. Friends did our shopping for us but we saw no one. Recently, we’ve gone for a short walk in the country once a week but keeping well away from others. But it’s been utterly exhausting for us all.

Ollie 3

And then, just recently, the nurses from Naomi House got in touch to say they were planning to reopen the hospice – and would Ollie like to come and stay on his own? We were just so happy to hear that. It’s only going to be three days at first, but we are already looking forward to them so much; sadly though, we’ll have to tell Lisi that she can’t go along this time.

You don’t know how important things are until they’re gone. Naomi House is a part of all our lives and we’ve missed it desperately. Being able to take Ollie in again this summer, to know that he’ll be fussed over, played with – and cared for immaculately – will be just fantastic.

If you can support their fundraising appeal, thank you. I can tell you, from personal experience, you’ll be helping to create moments for families like mine that we’ll never forget.

Vickey Kowal x

P.S. Naomi House made a film about Ollie earlier this year which you can watch below - you can see us splashing about in the pool and having an amazing time. We just can’t wait to go back.

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Help us create precious memories for families like Ollie's that they'll never forget by leaving us a one-off or monthly donation today. Thank you so much for your support.


Read more

Hear directly from a Naomi House nurse on how our nurses and carers have coped following the Covid-19 pandemic, and from our Director of Care about Naomi House & Jacksplace emerging from lockdown, in our charity appeal blog series.