The Balsam’s Story
"We would like to thank Sebastian 's Action Trust for giving us a helping hand in the most difficult moment of our lives. Thank you for the emotional support, every conversation and the time you spend with us. We would also like to thank you for the financial support, without which it would make things harder. We realise how many families are in a similar situation, so we appreciate your help even more."
The Trust have supported the Balsam family for the past two years since their youngest daughter Oliwia was diagnosed with a kidney cancer known as Wilms’ Tum
our. From the point of initial referral time at our Hub in Slough and The Bluebells, access to the Trust’s extensive calendar of events and one to one support from our team of outreach and child support workers gave the family opportunities to spend time together away from hospital, building precious memories that now sustain them through the most difficult path any parent or sibling could face.
Sadly Oliwia died in January, leaving the family bereft at the prospect of a lifetime without their beloved daughter and sister. The Trust offered discreet support through every twist and turn of Oliwia’s illness and in the months after her death our presence has continued, in accordance with the family’s wishes. As the family originate from Poland, there was an absence of close family members to help with funeral arrangements so the Trust team stepped in to help plan a celebration of life that befitted four year old Oliwia, as well as supporting her heartbroken older sister Emilia. The Slough Hub became a private place to where the family and friends could retreat immediately after Oliwia’s funeral- where stories of Oliwia’s courage, charm and zest for life were remembered and shared.
Helping to determine a beautiful place for Oliwia’s ashes to be scattered has been another important way in which the family’s outreach worker Claire has been able to offer meaningful support. Regular visits, followed up with discreet telephone messages have helped parents Alex and Bart to feel connected to the Trust, never alone, at a time when the services associated with Oliwia’s illness have naturally ebbed away and friends have stru
ggled to know how to help.
Over the past seven months Emilia has been closely supported by our team, helping her to find a safe place where she can articulate her thoughts and feelings without the worry of upsetting Mummy or Daddy. Through the Trust’s Butterfly Support Programme, our bereavement care workers are able to help siblings and parents to normalise their feelings, even in the most abnormal circumstances, and to find coping mechanisms to sustain them particularly through the dark days, weeks and months to follow.