Rosa's Story

Meet Rosa. Fabulous 4-year-old and, more recently, marvellous model for our new meerkat hospital experience!

Rosa has Down’s Syndrome, so has visited the children’s hospital a few times with related health issues. But last year, her family had an incredibly scary experience when she suddenly became very unwell.

Mum Shelley says, “She had been complaining of a sore leg, so on the Wednesday, we took her to A&E, just to be safe. By Friday, she was in intensive care, fighting for her life.

“She deteriorated so rapidly. We were shellshocked. She was taken for an MRI and then kept sedated to try to find out what was wrong. She was hooked up to so many machines and there were various scary updates with more and more possible diagnoses getting added.

She’d been ill before but there had always been treatments. The reality that we could lose her was terrifying.

- Shelley, Rosa's mum

“Finally, we were given the news that she had Strep A, sepsis and pulmonary embolisms. We were taken into a family room and told, ‘the focus now is to not let her die tonight.’

“She’d been ill before but there had always been treatments. The reality that we could lose her was terrifying.

“The next few days were a blur but thankfully, over the weekend, she started to stabilise. She was still incredibly unwell, but the infection had plateaued. We just held our breath, and focused on any positive sign as she slowly began to recover.”

Dad Alex continues: “We were in the RHCYP for 7 and a half weeks in total, including over Christmas, New Year and Rosa’s birthday.

“The sheer level of professionalism and skill from the staff we saw during this time was astonishing, and the nurses were just fabulous. They read to her and did fancy hairstyles while she was unconscious. They were a massive support for all of us.

“As she got better, we started to go down to ECHC’s Hub. By this point, we’d hit a new level of exhaustion, so having somewhere to go where we could get a cup of tea, draw breath, and have others entertain and engage Rosa was an absolute lifesaver.

“We watched the Christmas tree light switch on, had Santa visit on Christmas Day, did arts and crafts and the musician came in to sing to her. All these things bring you back to the edges of normality – something which is so needed after so many weeks in hospital.

“Rosa is still under the care of lots of hospital teams who are keeping an eye on her, but she’s going from strength to strength.

“As you can see from the photos, she had lots of fun meeting the meerkat mob at Edinburgh Zoo! We think the meerkats will be an amazing addition to the hospital and a wonderful distraction for families like ours during very long and difficult stays.”

An enormous thank you to superstar Rosa for being the adorable face of our meerkat announcement! Watch this space for more on the meerkats coming very soon.