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While we all experience fears and worries, it can be particularly difficult for children and families in hospital.

That’s where Claire and Karen come in. Our two fantastic music therapists can be heard across Bristol Children’s Hospital, delivering sessions to help people express themselves.

We spoke to Emily, Laurie’s mum, to hear about the difference music therapy has made to their hospital journey.  

“My little Laurie has been in hospital since he was just a few days old. He became critically unwell after his bowel twisted on itself and cut off its blood supply.

Laurie was rushed to emergency surgery to remove 90% of his small intestine. He now has something called ‘short gut syndrome’. For Laurie, this means he can only take tiny amounts of milk by mouth. Instead, Laurie gets his nutrients through a line in his vein.

Will we be able to wean Laurie off this special nutrition? The jury’s out, but we know that he will eventually come home on it.

Emily, Laurie’s mum

Claire came to see us just before Christmas last year. We were still trying to process everything that had happened and adjust to this new way of life (plus, juggle looking after our toddler at our home over an hour away).

Our first music therapy session with Claire had me in tears. She managed to connect with Laurie in such an incredible way – Claire responds to his moods or gestures, communicating with him through songs and sounds.

It’s something very special to witness. Each time, Laurie is given a platform to express his emotions, helping him develop socially, physically and psychologically. This is crucial when you have spent as much time in hospital as Laurie (nearly five months).

The sessions have helped Nick and I just as much as Laurie. Personally, Claire has empowered me to process the many emotions of having a poorly child. It’s also encouraged me to look after myself. Claire even inspired me to get out of the hospital and take a run after our first session when she noticed I was wearing gym leggings, and we got chatting!

We are so grateful to The Grand Appeal for funding people like Claire. She has made our journey so much more bearable. I have no doubt she has contributed hugely to Laurie’s recovery.

Laurie does have some way to go before we can think about coming home (including another operation). So, we don’t know yet if we are halfway through our hospital stay, but he has made such progress. We are immensely grateful to the medical and surgical teams who saved his life and continue to look after him now.

Bristol Children’s Hospital has truly made us a part of their family – from the nurses and doctors to the cleaners, ward clerks, and play specialists. Laurie wouldn’t be here without them.”

New Shaun the Sheep figurine alert!