‘WE NEEDED CAMP SIM­CHA IN SO MANY WAYS’

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY -

TWO years ago, Mill Hill cou­ple Lee and Sa­man­tha Bladon spoke at the Camp Sim­cha din­ner about their daugh­ter Evie,who was born with se­vere brain dam­age.

Doc­tors did not ex­pect Evie to live be­yond 48 hours but she went on to cel­e­brate three birth­days. She died six months af­ter the Bladons ad­dressed the din­ner.

The trauma Evie suf­fered dur­ing her birth re­sulted in mul­ti­ple health is­sues, in­clud­ing cere­bral palsy, epilepsy and se­vere vis­ual im­pair­ment, re­quir­ing 24/7 care.

“When Evie was four weeks old, the pal­lia­tive care con­sul­tant at Great Or­mond Street re­ferred us to Camp Sim­cha and chief ex­ec­u­tive Neville Gold­schnei­der came to visit us,” Mr Bladon re­calls. “We had never needed char­ity be­fore. But sud­denly we needed Camp Sim­cha’s sup­port in so many ways.

“Our fam­ily li­ai­son of­fi­cer Gila Hack­en­broch was there for ev­ery­thing we needed, or­gan­is­ing prac­ti­cal help and giv­ing us the emo­tional sup­port of hav­ing some­one out­side the fam­ily to talk to, some­one to share the bur­den.

“There is an en­dur­ing feel­ing of iso­la­tion when your child doesn’t move, will never say your name and you query whether she even recog­nises you. When these feel­ings over­whelmed us, Gila was there for us. We had two lovely Camp Sim­cha ‘big siblings’ for our two older chil­dren, Al­fie, now eight, and Mia, seven. They came to our house once a week to play with the kids, take them to the park, or out for a milk­shake and spoil them rot­ten.

“And then there were the amaz­ing fam­ily re­treats, which gave us the boost we needed.”

Mr Bladon adds that Camp Sim­cha’s help has con­tin­ued be­yond Evie’s death. “Mia and Al­fie still see their ‘big siblings’ and Gila is al­ways there for us, a friend now.

“None of us would have coped with­out Camp Sim­cha.”

PHOTO: CHIKO

Sa­man­tha and Lee Bladon with Evie

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