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Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010
EACH Treehouse Appeal: A family's story
Paul and Dianne Wombwell
Paul and Dianne Wombwell are grateful for EACH's support

A family who benefit from the East Anglia's Children's Hospices' support is backing the Treehouse Appeal.

Callum, son of Paul and Dianne Wombwell, has been cared for by EACH and visited their bungalow in Ipswich for around nine years.

The Wombwells say EACH's support has been invaluable for Callum, but also as respite for them.

"We can do things like taking our daughter out in the evening, relax and be normal," said Dianne.

EACH has outgrown the three bedroom bungalow in Ipswich and BBC Suffolk is helping to raise £3m required to fund a purpose-built hospice nearby.

For the Wombwells, the bungalow has been a home away from home for their 12-year-old son Callum, who has been ill since birth.

"We knew he had a heart condition when I was pregnant and he was diagnosed within a week of being born," said Dianne.

"We were told he would die at birth, and that he'd probably die within the first few months if he survived birth.

"He was in Great Ormond Street and Ipswich Hospital for the first 16 months of his life - he came home at 16 months old after many operations and set backs."

Excellent care

Paul Wombwell says the staff and environment of the hospice means it's somewhere he looks forward to visiting.

Callum Wombwell and his sister Lydia
Callum Wombwell and his sister Lydia

"It's such a daunting thing when you first go in, but they make you feel welcome," said Paul.

"Callum has his friends there, he grabs hold of one of their hands, waves goodbye to us, and you just feel so comfortable in that situation, knowing he's going to be looked after.

"You know he's going to have activities, be played with, and you have a chance to have a break and do something different."

And for Dianne, EACH's support means a break from what is now her full time job of being Callum's primary carer.

"She spends her whole time with him so those little bits where she can get out and do something normal is really important."

But for all of the Wombwells' affection for EACH and its staff, Paul is delighted that plans are underway for the new hospice.

"I'm really excited. It's such a big thing for the hospice to move to something that is purpose-built.

"A lot of the children have very special needs and take up a lot of room - when you pull a wheelchair up to the lounge, which is normal size, it just fills it up. To have something with more space is going to be brilliant."

Another benefit of the new hospice, says Paul, will be increased support for siblings of seriously-ill children.

"It's children in the same situation as them that understand what they're going through and how difficult it is - growing up saying 'we're going out', then 'oh we're not because Callum's not well'.

"It's very hard for those children to accept. The siblings groups which they can run in a larger area will be very important."

Donate now

To give money, please send a cheque made payable to "EACH Treehouse Appeal" to:

EACH Treehouse Appeal, Epsilon House, West Road, Ipswich, IP3 9FJ

The appeal donation line number is 01473 276116.

Donate online at EACH Treehouse Appeal .


EACH Treehouse Appeal supported by BBC Suffolk EACH Treehouse Appeal
BBC Suffolk is helping East Anglia's Children's Hospices raise the 3million needed to fund a purpose built hospice in Ipswich.
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