Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hi John, Lovely to see you again!

We were at the Chelsea and Westminster Christmas party on Friday. It was great fun and William tried out his "trolly" for the first time. This is a walker to help him when he wobbles and falls. He sees it as more of a toy at the moment so uses it for a bit before discarding it to wobble and fall as usual so we are still having to resort to "Darlie Dair". Hopefully, he will get used to the trolly and use it a bit more with time.

After the party, we went up to the ward to give the staff a card and chocolates and - who should we see but Chelsea Football Team again. I genuinely had no idea as they came a week later last year when we were in. We chatted to the ward sister while they were on the ward next door and then they all came through and Wayne Bridge came straight to William. I asked for a photo and he got as many of the guts as possible in. He then asked the coaches with the presents for one for William and we found a 'Pirate Pop-up Game" which looks like a lot of fun. They gave him a cuddly dog and a Thomas the Tank Engine set last year and they have made him very happy indeed! We chatted to the pharmacist about William's IV drugs and were just getting ready to go when a very familiar face walked through the door. It was John Terry who had been running late. It was John who gave William his presents last year and I completely lost myself and smiled at him immediately and said "Hi, we met you here last year..." He was great and came down to William's level for a chat and a photo. Later, I met up with Helen, Riley's Mum (there will be a lot more about Riley over the next few days). She had just had a meeting at St Mary's Hospital where Riley suddenly died a year ago this Friday and we were meeting for a debrief and for her to come back home with me for the night. She really wanted to see Chelsea as Riley had been in the hospital nearly a year and went home just ahead of the visit last year. In the end, they came on the day he died and the whole event has become especially poignant for us all. It was really quite fitting that she had planned to meet us at the end of the party, after going to St Mary's. We were having a coffee when the ward psychologist came by and told us the players had gone to catch the children still at the party and were then off to the canteen. We casually popped down to "say a last goodbye to the play staff at the party" but Helen didn't get up the courageto say hello so "why not a quick cup of tea in the canteen". In the end, Helen managed a cheaky hello and autograph with John Terry and played it cool, insisiting he signed the pre-signed card again to show it was genuine! No-one could have possibly known the conversation we were having around the day and the huge meaning that both Helen and I have attached to the team's visit to the hospital. Last year they came on the day my best friend in all this lost her gorgeous little boy and the day I realised how serious a position William is in. The visit from Chelsea symbolises all this, but it also symbolises the amazing life William is having and all the exciting things he does. One day, I will write to them and tell them how hugely important visits like this are and how much it means to all concerned. We always look on John Terry and the other players we have met in a very special way when we see them on the TV, and those Crystal Palace players too. They almost seem like friends because what they have done for us is so important in lifetime where every minute counts. At the moment, I am overwhelmed with the effort and kindness people have put in to brighten things up for children like William and am in the middle of writing Christmas cards to all those I feel the need to thank at this time of year when you find yourself taking stock. I am rambling now so will get on with them!

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