‘MediCinema is a charity that does good things for the soul.’
Fiona’s son, Darach, was diagnosed at birth with Pulmonary Atresia with ventricular septal defect (VSD) and had his first surgery at two days old. Since then, he has had five heart surgeries, three of which have been open heart, as well as an operation to fit a pacemaker, so he has been in and out of hospital for his whole life. Most recently, Darach was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, with infective endocarditis, a very serious infection in the heart which kept him in hospital for almost seven weeks, and most of the summer holidays. Fiona explains how difficult long hospital stays are for the whole family:
‘You miss the simple, normal things like going for a walk with your dog, talking to your friends, cooking, being outside, having movie nights at home with the family. You’re not that busy when you are in hospital with your child, you have far too much time to think and that amplifies all your fears. Once you’re on it, it’s difficult to get off the worry wheel, especially when you haven’t had much sleep either; at times you don’t have the mental stamina to stop the worrying.
‘That’s why distractions are so beneficial. The first time we came to MediCinema was the night before his pacemaker was due to be fitted, and we were quite stressed about the surgery the next day, but after that first screening, we felt really uplifted. We had that relief; we’d been able to escape and have a nice treat together. It really took our minds off of the looming surgery.
‘Now going to the cinema is a special treat and something Darach can look forward to when he knows he’s coming into hospital. He thinks about it all week and it really cheers him up.
‘For the Men in Black: International screening it was my older son’s birthday, and we wondered if it would be OK if he came along, but the ward staff told me that it was for the whole family to enjoy together, especially as we’d had such a stressful time and it was exactly why we deserved to go. It was so lovely to be able to spend time with the whole family.
‘It was important for Darach, as part of his recovery, and for my youngest son, Stroan aged nine. The boys are really close, and he was at home with Granny and Grandpa all week while we were in hospital with Darach, so for four weeks we didn’t see him from Sunday to Friday. It was great for him to be involved – for him to have special time with all of us so he wouldn’t feel left out. An ill child gets so much attention from everyone and the younger siblings can feel left out or at times even a bit jealous. Going to MediCinema was a chance for Stroan to feel included and share a laugh with his brother. Seeing the brothers laughing together was so heart-warming and we felt so grateful and lucky.
‘I have experienced first-hand how valuable MediCinema is – when we think of health charities we tend to think of the big organisations that focus on the body and prevention of disease, but the mind is key to healing and recovery too. Going to the cinema is something most people would take for granted but under these circumstances, it brought the greatest happiness to Darach and played a big part in his recovery. I think MediCinema really is the best thing in the hospital to help the kids, and we are so grateful to have benefited from it.’