Home for Samantha is Ravenswood. It’s what she has known for 38 years
My name is Gaby. I want to tell you a little about my sister Samantha who lives in Ravenswood Village.
Samantha was born in 1971. She caught meningitis when she was just 3 months old, which left Sam physically and mentally disabled. From that day on my parents fought for everything they could for Samantha to enable her to have the best possible life that she could. Up until 12 years of age Samantha lived at home and attended Kisharon school.
In 1983 my parents made the hardest decision for them to send Samantha to Ravenswood, to A) try and give Samantha some more independence, and B) also to look at Samantha’s long term future when they would no longer be here. They chose Ravenswood as they firmly believed that this would be for Samantha’s entire life.
Samantha adjusted to life at the village well but knew she would come home every weekend and holidays without exception.
I was 10 years old when Sam started at the village, and I missed her terribly during the week and looked forward to the weekends. Mum and dad (Marlene and Colin) were very much involved in Ravenswood and were always on the committees. In 1991 mum even did a parachute jump with the Red Devil’s to raise money for Ravenswood.
I have continued to have Samantha come to my home on a weekly basis to have lunch together
This continued until 2013 when our dad, Colin, sadly passed away. Unfortunately my mum was also in poor health so we could no longer have Sam for the whole weekend, (as also Samantha’s mobility has been on the decline for many years now, and she can now no longer walk - and needs help with transferring to the wheelchair etc - she is now funded 2-1 for that). Jemma, her main carer, would bring Samantha to London for the day, where we would have lunch together and spend time as a family.
Unfortunately, In December 2017 our mum Marlene passed away. Since then I have continued to have Samantha come to my home on a weekly basis to have lunch together and spend time with her, which we all love and my 6 year old daughter Dylan has built a beautiful relationship with her.
We did this right up until Covid came along, and since then we have been Skyping, as Samantha doesn’t really talk so at least we could see each other - I did see a lot of Samantha’s neck as she was always holding the tablet so close - so she could give me kisses on the screen.
In January 2020 Samantha was at Queens Square National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery for Intracranial pressure monitoring (the results showed there was a lot of pressure). I was allowed in the aesthetic room and recovery room to make it less traumatic for Samantha. She was due to have an operation last April/May to install a new shunt (her last one was put there at 3 months old) but the procedure was obviously put on hold because of Covid - the deterioration within this last year has been quite alarming.
Thankfully on 12 April 2021 Samantha was able to have this much needed operation (again I was allowed in the aesthetic and recovery room) she coped extremely well and was discharged after 3 days, when I asked Samantha where she wanted to go (leaving the hospital) she said “go home”.
Home for Samantha is ‘Eretz ‘ - Ravenswood. It’s what she has known for 38 years.
Sam by nature (even after all the countless operations and obstacles thrown at her) is a happy soul - and never really cries, and on the whole will smile at you and just wants to give you kisses and cuddles, listen to music, play with her puzzles/ look at her magazines and drink tea!
The things that Samantha cares about is consistency in faces, surroundings, being loved and cared for, care workers knowing her and her needs, (and Eretz has an amazing team of staff who Samantha dearly loves).
Ravenswood Village is currently under consultation with the possibility of closure. Please show your support for our families and friends to keep their home by signing the petition below. These are vulnerable people who deserve to continue to live where they feel happy, loved and safe.