The Orland’s Story
"We have a real sense of belonging. The Trust brings people together with something in common and who understand what you are going through."
When Harry Orland was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of eight, mum Sally found it difficult to cope. Dealing emotionally with the bombshell was difficult for the family, but also the practical logistics of managing hospital stays, looking after Harry’s older sister, Charlotte, and juggling work was also extremely difficult.
While in Wexham Park Hospital, the family were put in touch with Sebastian’s Action Trust and outreach worker, Claire Mann, met them and explained the support the charity could offer them. The youth support service offered for Charlotte by Katie Cowie was described as a ‘godsend’ by Sally. Charlotte was in the middle of studying for her 11-plus exams and the extra support and attention Katie was able to provide assisted her enormously, at a time when her parents naturally needed to focus more on Harry.
Harry’s condition means a lot of the activities and venues enjoyed by boys his own age are not an option for him. His environment needs to be clean and safe to prevent the risk of infection. Harry has been able to enjoy activities like arts and crafts at the Family Outreach Hub - a safe and relaxed environment. It also gave him an opportunity to meet other children in similar situations. A real highlight for Harry was a visit to an aquarium organised by the Trust. At a time when Harry’s social life was quite restricted, this first trip following treatment without his parents gave him a real sense of independence and a chance to forget the rigours of hospital treatment schedules for a while.
As a family, the Orlands have enjoyed a number of events put on by the Trust, including Christmas in July, which enabled them to enjoy precious family time together. Stephen has been to Dads’ days and, before going back to work full-time, Sally enjoyed being able to relax at the Hub knowing the children would be safe and entertained.