One conversation changed the lives of parents and 'warrior' daughter

Stephanie Perry with husband John Perry and their children
Stephanie Perry with husband John Perry and their children -Credit:Zoe's Place

A mum who describes her daughter as a "warrior" says that everyone who meets her falls in love with her.

Stephanie Perry, 41 and husband John Perry, 49, from Liverpool, have a beautiful two-year-old daughter called Robyn. At such a young age, Stephanie says her daughter has already been through so much due to many complex needs she has been diagnosed with.

In 2021, Stephanie and John visited Liverpool Women's Hospital for a 16-week-scan. It was an exciting time for the family who had gender reveal cannons with them in the car where their two sons waited, ready to celebrate.

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But after the scan was taking longer than expected, Stephanie knew there was something wrong and she was told there was a protrusion on the baby’s spine.

Nurses told Stephanie and John that their child would be born with Spina Bifida and they didn't know what impact this would have until she was born.

Stephanie told the Echo: ‘’I was in shock when I found out about the Spina Bifida. It felt like at this point everything that could go wrong was going wrong. But I felt strong from the beginning and just wanted to give my child a chance.’’

Robyn, now two-years-old, has kyphosis of the spine which means her spine grew outwards. Because of this, Robyn is paralysed from the waist down.

Stephanie added: ‘’For the first year of Robyn’s life I didn’t really go out anywhere other than the hospital then back home, it was non stop appointments.’’

She admits she didn’t feel safe taking her daughter out given her complex needs but when Robyn turned one she felt ready to go more places because she knew her daughter needed it.

Stephanie says she couldn’t even bring herself to visit play areas because Robyn wasn’t like other babies and couldn’t crawl, so the mum always felt on edge.

In a moment that changed Stephanie and John’s lives, a nurse had suggested that they visit Zoe’s Place, a baby hospice in West Derby. They first visited the hospice in March, 2023, and say "it just felt like home".

Robyn Perry
Robyn Perry -Credit:Zoe's Place

‘’Zoe’s Place has changed my family’s life massively’’, Stephanie says. The staff make the whole family feel special and try to give every child long lasting memories.

Recently, Stephanie was sent pictures of Robyn ice-skating in her pram with members of the Zoe’s Place team and says her daughter ''always has a smile on her face when she is with the other children.''

The mum-of-three describes her daughter as a "little warrior" who is always happy and smiling, even when she isn't well. Stephanie says Robyn is a "little angel baby" who means everything to her.

Thanks to Zoe's Place, Robyn has come on massively. Stephanie says she feels the safe hands of the staff at Zoe's Place put her at ease as they do an incredible job.

Zoe's Place has helped so many families across Liverpool by supporting children with life-limiting or life-threatening complex illnesses. One of these families are Claire, Graham and Evie Withington from Warrington.

Claire and Graham started coming to Zoe's Place nearly a year ago as their three-year-old daughter, Evie, has health issues, including a rare genetic disorder called AARS1 which is a gene mutation.

Evie's parents say when you're at home it has to be constant care where you ''have your eyes on her at all times, you can't just switch off.'' So when she is at Zoe' s Place the parents have a chance to switch off and unwind.

Claire and Graham had tried many options before coming to Zoe's Place, including a homestart service but it didn't work out as Evie had so many appointments they struggled to fit them all in over the course of the week. They say they can "relax more" since joining Zoe's Place.

Claire told the ECHO: ''Zoes place is an absolute lifeline it means we can have a night off, a day off and know she is being well looked after, she comes home with artwork and has been baking and going on trips, we just know she loves it she is so happy and recognises peoples face in there.''

Graham, Claire and Evie Withington
Graham, Claire and Evie Withington -Credit:Zoe's Place

Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice has launched an urgent Capital Appeal, calling on its supporters, businesses and individuals within the community to help raise £3.5m for a new state-of-the-art home in Liverpool.

Aimee Clare, Capital Appeal Lead at Zoe’s Place, said: “Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice is an incredibly special place, providing specialist and essential care to our babies and their families at a time when they need it the most.

“It’s a place of happiness, relief and is a true lifeline for those who need it, allowing families to be together and experience the joy of childhood, which can easily be taken for granted by many of us.

“If lots of people give a little, we will quickly raise a lot and together we can build a new home and hospice for Liverpool to be incredibly proud of.”

Planning Permission for a new, single-storey extension was submitted on Monday, March 18 to transform the former bowling green at Hayman’s Green, West Derby into a first-class, purpose-built, facility for Zoe’s Place families.

You can help Zoe's Place raise funds for their new hospice here

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