The parents of a Morpeth teenager who died just two days before she was due to receive her GCSE results have thanked all those who donated to a charity that supported them when she was in hospital.
Emily Pattison became suddenly ill during the school holidays and required specialist treatment at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Her parents, Lorna and Kevin Pattison, were provided with free accommodation run by The Sick Children’s Trust at its Home from Home Scott House, which is located just a few minutes’ walk from the paediatric intensive care unit where the 16-year-old was being treated.
The King Edward VI School pupil died on August 21.
At the Service of Thanksgiving for their daughter, which took place at St George’s United Reformed Church, Kevin and Lorna requested that donations were made to Scott House in lieu of flowers. The total collected was £2,400.
Described as ‘a fanatic Newcastle United fan’, Emily enjoyed sport and playing for a Morpeth Town Juniors girls’ football team. She had many friends and would have been elated with her excellent exam results.
Lorna, herself an adult cardiac nurse at the Freeman Hospital, said: “We were out walking with our dogs on August 7 when Emily collapsed and even though she felt fine afterwards, I was concerned so I took her to hospital.
“That first night in hospital, Emily was her usual self, giggling away, eating and drinking – she had been perfectly healthy.
“She just wanted to pop her pyjamas on and go home and said she didn’t feel ill. But a few hours later she became acutely unwell, which is why the doctors decided to transfer her to the Freeman.
“When we arrived, we were offered a place to stay at Scott House. Initially, we said we’d be fine as we didn’t want to take this space away from another family with a seriously ill child.
“But sadly, Emily’s condition deteriorated further and we were warned her life was in danger.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference Scott House made. Because we could stay there, Emily was never alone and always had her family around her, even if she didn’t know it.”
Scott House can support up to 19 families a night, 365 days a year, keeping them close to their seriously ill children as they undergo treatment at the Freeman.
Over the last year, the Home from Home has supported more than 400 families.
Although the accommodation is provided free of charge to families, Scott House relies entirely on voluntary donations.
Lorna said: “We felt incredibly supported by Scott House, not just by keeping us close to our daughter, but by the staff and other families who also had critically ill children on the ward.
“In our darkest days, there were lighter moments when we could speak about Emily with our family and friends, laugh and cry with them because we had Scott House.
“Within hospitals, there’s not the space to do that which makes a place like Scott House vital in helping to get you through such a horrendous time.
“It became a focus for us and our family, a place where we could gather and be together.
“We decided to ask for donations at Emily’s funeral for Scott House because of this and everyone has been so generous.
“When your child unexpectedly falls ill, you may arrive at the hospital with nothing but what you’re wearing at the time.
“Being welcomed into a place which has the basics – a hot shower, a place to brush your teeth and somewhere to sleep and cook some proper food – takes some of the pressure away as you don’t know when you’ll get another chance to do any of that.
“With everyone’s generous donations, we know that more families will benefit from Scott House.
“We’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone for their kindness, it really means so much to our family.”
Linsey Brough, Scott House manager, said: “Everyone at Scott House would like to say a huge thank-you to Emily’s family for thinking of us at this incredibly sad time.
“It’s so important to us to have been able to support Lorna, Kevin and Emily’s brothers Jamie and Dan while Emily was at the Freeman Hospital and offer them comfort and solace and enable them to be with Emily as much as possible.
“This generous donation made by Emily’s friends and family will have a significant impact on supporting other families whose children need treatment at the Freeman.
“For that, we’d like to say a huge thank-you from the bottom of our hearts.”
If you would like to find out how you can make a donation to Scott House in Emily’s memory, please call the team directly on 0191 2231600.