New sensory equipment for families to support the development of their seriously ill children is available at a hospital thanks to dedicated fund raising by a grateful couple.
The room with sensory equipment was opened at the Safari Ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich by Sonia and Sandeep Sankoli in memory of their son Dhian Hari Singh Sankoli who died aged just six months in May 2016.
The couple raised nearly £20,000 in tribute of the care their baby received at the hospital where he was treated for eight weeks before he passed away. Dhian was born with a rare genetic condition – which meant he had an extra chromosome- had been admitted into the hospital due to complications.
The couple, who spent all their time at the hospital while their son was being treated, were deeply impressed by the care and support given by the staff who became to them like an extension of their own family.
They were also amazed that their fund raising to revamp the ward’s sensory facilities raised such a lot of money and are hugely grateful to everyone who donated.
Sonia told The Mercury they wanted to help provide more sensory equipment as a special chair previously donated to the hospital both helped support Dhian’s posture and brought him great joy.
The 33 year old said: “The sensory room is now up and running and we held a little launch to showcase the room to families. The room open for any families of children with development challenges who need it however long their children are staying at the hospital. It is equipped with sensory equipment so families can use it to support their children’s development and enhance their lives.”
“We raised much more money than we thought and so we have also created “sensory rucksacks” filled with small toys for children not able to get to the room. Families can pick them up and use in the wards and we hope they find them beneficial.”
Sonia, said: “We found our experience over the eight weeks on the ward really supportive – all the staff were so caring and what has been really special is that they have kept in touch. When we go in they still remember our little boy- so its still a really special place for us. They have offered to put in a plaque to remember Dhian in the room which is a really lovely gesture.”
Sonia and her husband worked with Carol Sullivan- Wallace, the play specialist on the ward and Meridian the estates partner on the refurbishment of the ward.
The sensory equipment in the room is aimed at helping increase children’s attention, develop their senses and language and improve brain development. Its features include lights which can change the mood of a child from relaxing and calming to stimulating and educational.
Carol Sullivan Wallace, said: “All the staff on the ward are so pleased that the room is now finished and that our special patients can now use it. Sonia and Sandeep and their family have been absolutely amazing in their generosity and the room is a wonderful tribute to their son whose life, although tragically short, has touched that of so many other children and adults.”
The opening on Friday September 25 was attended by children, families in addition to carers who enjoyed a buffet lunch donated by QualiTi.
Sonia said: “We are so pleased that so many parents and their beautiful children took time to come today and it was lovely to meet them and to talk about their experiences of having these very special children. I think it will make a real difference to everyone to be able to come and have some quality time in the sensory room, where they can be quietly together and share precious moments and help their children to develop at the same time.”