Bella developed a nasty cough in January 2018. But it soon became clear that this was no common illness. Before long her symptoms became so bad that she was unable to sleep and started having difficulty breathing. When Bella's mother took her to A&E, tests eventually showed that she had a large tumour in her lung that was pressing against her heart.
Bella’s treatment started almost straightaway, and for the next six months, she was confined to hospital – her parents taking it in turns to sleep at her bedside.
After an incredibly frightening few months for Bella and her family – including a spell in intensive care – she was eventually discharged and able to live at home while still undergoing chemotherapy.
She started school, which she loved, but regularly had to miss days due to exhaustion. And this is how she spent Christmas of that year. She was full of hope and excitement, yet physically drained and unable to enjoy the festivities in the way that every child should.
Bella loved Christmas and initially had been granted a wish to travel to Lapland and visit Santa. But sadly, Bella’s condition deteriorated very quickly in April of this year, and she was unable to travel.
Instead, Make-A-Wish arranged for Bella to have an early Christmas with her family in September. A beautiful house was rented in Devon, and decorated to feel as festive as possible. Professional chefs cooked the family a Christmas dinner and gifts were shared, just as they would be at Christmas time.
Bella had a wonderful time, and her family’s resounding memories of her that weekend are the look of joy and happiness that can only come from a child’s love of all things festive.
Sadly, Bella passed away shortly after their Christmas adventure. But the memories of that weekend are incredibly precious for her family. And the joy that Bella experienced at the end of her short life was a priceless gift for a child who had endured so much hardship.
This is the magical difference that a gift to Make-A-Wish can achieve.Make-A-Wish UK