When Declan was born he was like any other normal healthy baby boy. He provided everyone with so much joy and love. His family and friends absolutely adored him.
Very suddenly in March 2009 when Declan was just three he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where he had doctors baffled. He had developed high temperatures and a rash. Eventually he was diagnosed with what is called HLH, a very rare blood disorder that attacks the body organs and cells.
Declan spent several months in Great Ormond Street Hospital having chemotherapy and steroids for treatment. This was a difficult time for him and especially for his family to see Declan feeling so unwell. While Declan was in hospital his family were asked if he would like some music therapy from Nordoff Robbins.
Having doctors around every single day, having different medicines to take and undergoing tests all the time, music therapy was his chance to enjoy doing what he loved but also allowed him to express his feelings and deal with what he had to cope with on a day to day basis. From the moment Nordoff Robbins arrived it was like a dream come true for Declan. Music provided an escape from the illness and trauma which anyone would find hard to deal with let alone a three year old.
Declan’s mother said: “To this day, one of my favourite memories of Declan is seeing him sitting in the back of my car singing away to the song by Kings of Leon 'sex is on fire'.”
Declan’s music therapy continued to take place whilst he underwent a bone marrow transplant later that year which meant that he was in an isolated room for many weeks. During this time Declan was limited to the number of visitors he could have in his room, apart from doctors and nurses and his mother as his main carer.
This was very frustrating for Declan as he had to remain isolated, and away from other children with very limited access and freedom to toys. He didn’t have the opportunity to go outside and explore; a natural escape for a young boy. In fact music was the only thing he had to look forward to, apart from his daddy and auntie Hayley coming to see him.
Declan’s mother said:
“During his music therapy sessions we could actually see him letting go and having fun, and just for those brief moments, it made this time very special indeed. Declan never asked for much and wasn’t given the choices like a three year old should. Music therapy offered him something without any restrictions. He had the freedom to choose the instruments he wanted to play, he could sing the songs he wanted to sing, he could express whatever he was feeling through music. In other words, music gave him choices.”
“During his time in hospital, Declan would ask almost every day when he would be going home. When the time eventually came for him to come home we were all really excited, but of course a little anxious.”
“Declan sadly lost his fight shortly after coming home. That was three years ago. We do of course thank everyone at Nordoff Robbins for giving our little boy something to help him cope with what was a very difficult time. We still miss him terribly but our memories of Declan smiling, singing and laughing will be with us forever.”
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