You are here:

Sharon's Story

Sharon's Story

Sharon has been taking care of her granddaughter, Gracie who has complex needs. They had a much-needed holiday and created happy memories together in Morecambe.

You couldn’t make our life up, honestly!

Keeping her sense of humour intact is what has got Sharon and her husband Ian through the hardships of the past few years.

Girl standing in front of a beach posing.

With a special guardianship order of their seven-year-old granddaughter Gracie, their lives centre around making sure that she’s ok. Particularly as Gracie lives with several complicated health conditions. Sharon explains,

She’s a very complex little girl,” explains Sharon. “She’s got epilepsy, she’s got a condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 which is a very rare form of cancer. She’s got chromosome 20p duplication [a rare chromosome abnormality], and global development delay, so she’s got quite a lot going on.

Sharon’s daughter Jade also had multiple endocrine neoplasia and, tragically, passed away when she was just 24.

It feels like yesterday since we lost her. These people who say it gets easier, well it doesn’t.

What was already a very challenging situation was not made easier by what happened next. Three years ago Sharon had a bad heart attack and just two months after that, Ian had a major stroke.

Then last year, Ian nearly died, he ended up with pneumonia and sepsis and luckily, touch wood, he’s still with us. We’ve been through the mill really.

As well as having to contend with all the worry surrounding her husband’s health, Sharon had to look after Gracie on her own for six weeks which isn’t always easy given her granddaughter’s diverse needs.

So when she heard that the three of them would be able to go away on holiday for a few days thanks to a referral for a Family Holiday Charity break, they were all over the moon. Gracie even insisted on having her own suitcase to take.

Girl sitting on a holiday park mega chair.

To keep things simple, they opted to go to Morecambe, just an hour’s drive from their Lancashire home. Blessed with good weather, Gracie and her grandparents spent nearly all their time on the extensive sandy beach.

Gracie’s so happy on the beach with her bucket and spade and some water and a ball. If she’s chilled and relaxed, we can relax. We don’t take her in the arcades because all the flashing lights could impact her epilepsy and it can all get too much for her.

Thrilled by the caravan because everything was on one level and she got to pick her own bedroom, Gracie really took to being on holiday. One of her favourite moments was on a walk to Heysham when she got to feed carrots to a field full of horses.

Girl standing in front of two horses.

Being away for a few days really helped to revive the family’s spirits after a tough time of it and to put their troubles to one side for a short while.

Sharon relates how their normal home life is impacted by Ian and Gracie’s health conditions.

"At the minute we just take things day by day as with all Ian’s illnesses we don’t know if he’s going to have another flare up because he has liver disease as well so he does get quite poorly with that."

We try not to make lots of plans just in case he’s in hospital.

Sharon continues, "we never know whether Gracie’s going to get admitted to the hospital with any of her illnesses. If she has seizures that last over five minutes, the ambulance has to come out and she has to go in just for observation."

The time away gave Gracie and her grandparents a much-needed opportunity to have some fun and to forge some happy new memories together.

Any time now, if Morecambe comes on the telly, she gets all excited and says ‘we’ve been there, we go on the beach don’t we’.

Get the latest from Family Holiday Charity

I understand that providing my email address means that Family Holiday Charity will contact me about the wider work of the charity, including campaigns, events and fundraising, and that I can unsubscribe at any time.

Privacy policy