Mother of Hemel boy leads nurse campaign after receiving help from Roald Dahl charity

Her son has complex additional needs and is supported by a specialist nurse.

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 3:18 pm

A mother in Hemel Hempstead is backing a campaign to fund more specialist nurses in the NHS following the ‘life-changing’ impact of a Roald Dahl Children’s Charity nurse at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital.

Suzannah Goodchild’s son Max has serious health conditions and is supported by nurse Lisa from the charity.

The eight-year-old is diagnosed with a GRIN2D-related disorder and epilepsy.

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Suzannah Goodchild with her son Max and nurse Lisa.

He is registered blind, unable to walk, talk and is dependent on a tube for feeding.

Suzannah said: “Max goes through so many difficulties and so many challenges, yet his bravery and lust for life shines through all the time.”

The family is supported by Lisa Smith, a Roald Dahl Children’s nurse at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital in Surrey.

Max’s mother has to communicate with between ten and 20 specialists each week, which Lisa helps to coordinate.

Lisa from Roald Dahls' Marvellous Children's Charity helps support the family.

Suzannah explained: “It is hard to put into words really what Lisa does, and what Lisa is, to us. She is the foundation that holds so many things together for us. Never has she ever let us down.”

She added: “She has taken us from a place where we were very isolated and struggling to get on top of his health, to a place where we know we are going to be okay.”

Suzannah is backing the Do Something Marvellous campaign to fund a new specialist nurse in the NHS.

She said: “I want to help change this because I know first-hand the life-changing impact they have and believe that every seriously ill child deserves a Roald Dahl Children's nurse”.

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Dr Kate Irwin, a consultant at Ashford and St. Peter's Hospital, said: “Since Lisa has been with our service, I cannot express how much she has done for that little boy.”

Lisa said that when she first met Suzannah and Max, it was apparent that if Suzannah continued to have the lack of rest that she was having, she was going to end up making herself ill.

Lisa explained: “I can take some days more than 40 phone calls, and then I could have a call to say that I have got a new diagnosis on the children’s ward.”

She added: “I will always be there for them. I know Suzannah feels I am part of the family, and it is a real privilege to be part of their journey.”

Research by Sheffield Hallam University found that Roald Dahl specialist nurses have a ‘profoundly positive impact’ on patients, their families and others around them.

Louise Griew chief executive at Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity said: “We are encouraging people and businesses to #DoSomethingMarvellous and help us fund a new specialist nurse in the NHS, just like Lisa.”

Ms Griew added: “This will provide a vital lifeline to hundreds of seriously ill children and families, supporting them both clinically and emotionally.”